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Veljko Paunovic Criticises Lack Of Final-Third Presence In West Brom Defeat

How the gaffer saw a poor away defeat at The Hawthorns.

Swansea City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

West Brom picked up the points against the Royals after what was a one-sided game at The Hawthorns. Callum Robinson scored the only goal of the game in the second half to seal the points. The home side had 25 shots on the day with 11 of those on target. The Royals had just four shots during the 90 minutes.

Reading sit in 21st, just two points off the relegation zone. Here is what Veljko Paunovic had to say after the game, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the performance

“We didn’t have a good first half, even though we didn’t concede a goal we conceded too much possession to our opponent. We had a big chance for Tom Dele-Bashiru which we didn’t convert - if he had scored that it might have been a different story.

“In the second half we made some adjustments, mainly in the mentality and our approach, our aim to show what we can do and execute our gameplan with more urgency and conviction.

“And in that second half I thought we did much better – we kept the ball better, we won our battles, we won more second balls. But we still didn’t create enough danger. And in the action that saw them score their goal we lost the ball and didn’t do the repress well, opened up the doors and conceded too easy from that counter attack.

“But we didn’t have enough presence in the final third today, not in terms of personnel, but in terms of balls into the box, opportunities and answers inside the box. And when we did find a way to feed the ball into the box, we were not clinical.

“The effort and the output today was good but I am not happy about the result.”

Paunovic on having zero shots on target and one corner

I just covered that. We didn’t enough emphasis in the final third, we weren’t clinical, we didn’t do enough and didn’t have enough presence in the final third.”

Paunovic on injuries

“Having lost four players to injury after our last game, I thought the guys who stepped in today did a great job – Tyrell for example had a fantastic game, young, confident, intelligent, has energy and shows quality and application… he is the future of our club. I’m very proud of him and everyone else who gave their best today.

“The injury issues mount game after game and as soon as someone recovers, another one – or even the same one gets injured again. Femi Azeez, for example., came back for one game and then in a tackle rolled his ankle and is out again. It’s not his or anyone’s fault. It is what it is. It’s a tough league and we have to rise up from this situation.

“We’ve got to fix our issues, we’ve got to get people back and then I think it will be a different story. And we will fix it, we will be back.

“Because our team never gives up. And that is a strength in our team. This team works hard and is capable of matching the best teams. So now our motivation is on Luton at home in front of our home fans in a game which will mark this club’s 150th anniversary.”

Paunovic on Swift’s absence

“We don’t know [how long he will be out]. He might be ready for Luton. It’s a soft tissue injury and a small grade so we expect he might be available for Luton.”

Paunovic on being two points above the drop

“The mentality I have seen here is always negative. I prohibit in my environment talking about that. What I am going to say is we’ll keep fighting and looking higher up on the table.

“That is where we have to project ourselves. There is no space or time for negativity nor am I going to answer this question now or in the future. We are where we are. We know why we are here and we are trying to fix it so we need positivity.”

Paunovic on his side’s game plan

“In the first half we didn’t have the courage to play out from the back. Was it because of their intensity or other issues, or change of personnel... it was difficult for us to put out a plan that we could work on with time.

“It is what it is. We can’t change anything now in terms of what we did or could have done. We have to think about preparing for Luton which is a big game in terms of celebrating our anniversary and expecting our crowd to come to the stadium.”

Paunovic on dealing with the pressure vs Luton

“We are going to use the pressure and that motivation as a catalyst to prepare our team in the right direction.”

Paunovic on Luke Southwood’s performance

“There were some very good individual performances and that tells you we have a capacity. We just need to put the pieces back together. Before the game they were there. One thing we can’t ignore is more than 11 players are injured.

“We are figuring out what we have and the guys are doing a great job. These are the circumstances we have to live with and work with.”