Veljko Paunovic admitted that he was unhappy with the draw against QPR at the Madejski Stadium. The draw now sees our play off place out of our hands with Bournemouth just three points behind with a game in hand. With tough games ahead and more injuries, the international break could have come at a good time to try and regroup and get prepared for the run in.
Lyndon Dyke’s scored just before half time to put the visitors ahead. Reading came out in the second half ready to fight. Liam Moore thought he’d equalised but it was ruled out for offside. Yakou Meite scored the equaliser on the 57th minute but the Royals couldn’t find the winner.
Paunovic on the game
“We played a very good game against a very good opponent. In the first half we were capable of creating very good opportunities, situations or moments in the game where we could have converted better.
“After conceding the goal, it wasn’t a good mood in the dressing room at half-time. But we were capable of lifting the guys and huge credit to the team. I am so proud of the reaction we gave - we came back from that goal very quickly, we had a goal ruled out for offside, but then we got the equaliser and we showed how determined we were.
“Late in the second half, when we lost possession, we couldn’t recover it. We were rushing it and looking to play long when it was important to settle, get the ball on the ground and play it forward to make their defence defend. It was a very intense game and we put our pedal to the metal... and we got tired towards the end. But I’m proud of the effort of the team.
“We showed the character and the spirit that we have always had in this group, but that we maybe lost a little in the last couple of games. And I loved the anger, I loved the determination, I loved the urgency and the conviction with which we tried to win the game.”
Paunovic on missed opportunities and giving chances away
“We could have won the game with the opportunities we created. We can’t afford to give away so many opportunities. You can’t afford to do that in the Championship, the Premier League, the Champions League, the World Cup - you can’t afford to miss so many chances at any level of the game.
“In this division, you know that your opponent will have at least one opportunity and if you don’t convert your chances when they come your way, then that opportunity you concede can be dangerous.
“It is not easy to create opportunities in this division, but it is good to see we are creating them easily. But we have to execute them. Especially in the final stages of the season... converting your chances is going to be crucial.
“I’m happy the team showed their character but also showed the frustration at not having won the game at the final whistle. That anger is important to have and to channel. I’m not happy with the draw this afternoon, but I also think there were a lot of positives to take from our game.”
Paunovic on Michael Olise substitution
“He was just tired. He did his best and there was nothing to complain about with him. We were also looking for fresh legs and we wanted to be more direct.”
Paunovic on Tom McIntyre and Andy Yiadom injuries
“Yiadom has a small grade one [tear] on his hamstring so we couldn’t risk him. We have to take care of him so that’s why he wasn’t in the squad. McIntyre got a knock to his knee which swelled so much he couldn’t take part. Our medical staff took 25ml of liquid out of his knee which is unbelievable... but in the next day it swelled again so it wasn’t possible to recover him for the game. They shouldn’t be out for long but we have to be cautious. I trust our medical staff to get them back after the break.”
Paunovic on Lewis Gibson’s performance
“I was very happy with him, Rafael’s saves and except the goal, the defence worked very well against a team that puts a lot of pressure on in attack and in numbers.”
Paunovic on Reading not having top-six fate in their own hands now
“We are focusing on the chances we have in the upcoming eight finals where we’ll have to be at our best. We’ll be looking to recover our players well and give a break to them.
“The intensity was huge over the past couple of months and we’ll use it as a chance to adjust and recover the fitness and the form we need to prepare for Barnsley.”
Paunovic on Yakou Meite
“Yakou is a proven goal scorer and an asset for the team. It is a shame we lost him so much this season as he would have definitely helped our performances and results.”