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Veljko Paunovic Praises Players, Criticises Referee In Hull Draw

How the gaffer saw a frustrating 1-1 with Hull on Saturday.

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

Poor decisions cost us on Saturday, with the Royals picking up a point against Hull City at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Tom Holmes scored an amazing overhead kick to put the Royals ahead and score his first Reading goal. Mallik Wilks equalised in the second half to secure a point. Reading sit in 20th, five points ahead of the relegation area.

Manager Veljko Paunovic believed that our performance deserved more; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the performance

“I’m very happy with the team and the performance we put in, especially in the second half. We showed great spirit and a good attacking mindset.

“We built our gameplan and the team was executing it. With Andy Carroll, you know you have a huge threat inside the penalty area. So you bring the ball there and you commit their players – you push them to the limit.

“And the culmination of our gameplan was that you finally want to break them down and that’s when you get what you deserve. We did that, but didn’t get the reward.

“Even after we conceded the goal, we kept pushing and we created those ‘pushed to the limit’ situations for our opponents. And in those moments when we broke them down, there were some decisions which should have been called.

“The team are starting to learn how to play with each other better – how we can play with Andy up front, how we can build from the back with Tom and Scott, how we can bring the ball forward through Tom Dele-Bashiru, Swifty and Alen and how they can link up with the forwards and others around them.

“So the message after the game was that there are a lot of positives, we are not happy with a point but we showed character and identity.”

Paunovic on VAR

“The game this week between Newcastle and Norwich – what is the difference between that handball and this handball? VAR called it and we don’t have VAR here. I don’t understand,

“The ball is directed towards our player and on its path it is intercepted by the hand. And the hand is not in a natural position. I understand the flow of a jump of a defender, but you can review the same situation in that game I referred to and Newcastle got a penalty.

“I don’t like to talk about officiating and decisions but decisions like these potentially cost us a play-off place last season – I remember a game away at Sheffield Wednesday when we were denied four penalties. This year, they are costing us again – today they cost us two points.

“It’s difficult to cope with. Because of the judgements of other people, we don’t get the win today. But we will again refocus on controllables. It is difficult to deal with it. But that is our life.

“I’m proud of my team. Even with the adversities we are dealing with, we carry on, we push forward, we believe in each other, we work hard, we play some good football and when we struggle we struggle together.”

Paunovic on the other penalty shouts

“Our view is both of them - I need to make sure Swift’s was inside the box but I believe it was, the contact was on the line. That’s why you need VAR for clarity. The first one too. There was a lot of grabbing in the box at set-pieces and corners which could have led to a review.

“This is difficult [to take] because of a judgement of other people. I don’t like to talk about officiating but these sorts of decisions cost us last year a play-off place. This year, hopefully nothing, but [it cost us] at least two points today.”

Paunovic on if he spoke to the referee post-match

“It’s not a good time to have a word. There is no explanation needed for this.”

Paunovic on Hull saying Carroll put defender under pressure

“This is an example when you build and execute your gameplan, and you know with Carroll he is a huge threat in the box. You bring the balls into the box, you push the defenders to their limit and it’s a culmination of our plan, when you break them down and then you get what you got. This is an example of how difficult it is to cope with our situation.”

Paunovic on Tom Holmes’ goal

“It was a very intuitive piece of play. I’m very happy for his first goal for the club. He’s a smart kid who learns from others like Meite and others who do crazy stuff like that in training. I’m so disappointed for him he doesn’t take the ball home with a big memory of a win.”

Paunovic on Holmes’ progress

“It’s a great moment for him. He struggled with some injuries but he came through it, got stronger, more robust and is still growing as a player. He is solid and reliable, and a robust Championship defender.”

Paunovic on Scott Dann’s influence

“Scott is a huge influence on our team, with his experience, communication and quality as a player. He does that naturally, he leads everyone around him and the whole team is better with Scott.”

Paunovic on Holmes’ future

“We are in talks with his representatives and hopefully we can do something about it.

Paunovic On Andy Yiadom going off

“He has been dealing with a soft tissue issue in the past three games and he was able to manage it. But his pain was very acute today so we took him off to try and save him, if the damage is not already done. Hopefully it’s not that bad.”