Veljko Paunovic delivered his post-match analysis via Zoom after his side’s 1-0 defeat against Millwall at The Den. After a slow start, The Royals played well in the first half, going in at half-time 0-0, but our second-half performance was poor and Millwall capitalised and scored through ex-royal Benik Afobe.
Reading now sit 17th.. News broke during the game that Reading have reportedly accepted a nine-point deduction, which will take place this season. Here is what Pauno had to say after the game, he spoke to Berkshire Live.
Paunovic on the defeat
“In the first half we were fantastic. Maybe in the first 10-15 minutes we didn’t have a good start but then we got on the ball, then we changed our system and shape. The players needed to figure out the system but when they did we controlled the game perfectly.
“We created very good opportunities. But we missed them and I think we didn’t have urgency to score. We built up momentum in the first half and played very good football - everyone was engaged and comfortable on the ball. Bringing it into the final third was a bit more difficult but when we were successful we missed the final product, once again.
“In the second half, they switched their system. But it wasn’t about systems tonight, we ran out of tank and unfortunately we couldn’t do more in the final 15 minutes.
“I have to be very thankful to the team, the players, the staff that worked in very difficult circumstances and they gave it all, same as the guys who came off the bench. Ashcroft had a fantastic game and together with the first half performance he is the biggest positive take we had from this game.
“We can’t say we didn’t have opportunities to score or didn’t try, everyone was very engaged but unfortunately we didn’t get the result.”
Paunovic on a strong first half followed by a poor second
“We are going through a very difficult period but we have to keep everyone engaged and encourage them to keep fighting moving forward. We played some good football but it’s not enough. We need to improve and change those second halves when we can’t control the game.
“It has been our issue the whole season but I would contribute that to injuries because it’s the same guys playing so many games. We just pile more fatigue and in our case, more injuries.”
Paunovic on Drinkwater and Yiadom being absent
“Drinkwater had a soft-tissue issue which he couldn’t recover from but hopefully, we can have him back for Saturday. It’s not a significant injury but it’s something we have to monitor on a daily basis. Yiadom had to isolate due to Covid situation.”
Paunovic on his own health
“I’m feeling grateful and thankful that I had an opportunity to be double vaccinated. I really feel fine despite the positive test and minor symptoms I feel good.”
Paunovic on a potential points deduction coming
“The major thing we have right now is the situation with the team. We have to regroup and prepare for Saturday, that’s the only focus we have right now.
“We are not going to wait passively for the storm to hit so we have to do our job and we know we need to work and get points, and recover as soon as possible our confidence and winning streak.”
Paunovic on watching on from afar
“It was horrible. I don’t want to compare it to anything. We did hold Zoom meetings and with the players individually and as a group but it’s not the same.
“The proximity is very important and being able to sense what’s going on out there and being able to communicate directly is irreplaceable when you can’t do it in person.
“Not being to help or support the team is very difficult.”