The Royals’ play-off chase continues with another three points picked up against Sheffield Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium. The visitors went down to 10 men after after 30 minutes with Julian Borner sent off after a foul on George Puscas in the penalty area which resulted in a penalty. Michael Olise slotted home to give us the lead. Lucas Joao scored against his former side and Andy Yiadom got a third with minutes to go to secure three points.
Reading remain fifth, six points behind second-place Watford. Bournemouth sit seventh, four points behind us. Veljko Paunovic, who suffered a shoulder injury in the week, was delighted with his side’s display. After the victory, Pauno spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Paunovic on the performance
“We started very well. We imposed ourselves from the very start. From the beginning, we played high tempo with high pressing when we were without the ball - that’s how we got to win the ball and force them to concede the penalty kick. And that literally changed the game in our favour. We had control of the game, we didn’t only score the penalty kick but we had chances for more.
“It’s not easy for any team to take advantage when you are up against 10 men, to keep playing for more goals but remain patient so you don’t give up any opportunities at the other end. But we did that today. We didn’t relax with a goal and a man up, we turned it up, moved up to the next gear with patience, maturity and professionalism. We controlled the game excellently.
“I’m happy with the performance of the team, every player’s output and the mentality from the group. The maturity of the team and the execution of the game plan was perfect. Team spirit is non-negotiable and always has been. And the consistency in our performance paid off today.
“We’ve got our winning streak back and we’re creating our own perfect storm going forward. And with a performance like today’s I’m happy for everyone of my players who all gave their best. And we will keep competing. It’s intense at this stage of the campaign and so it is important to do your homework, win your games, and keep going - and now we move onto the next one.”
Paunovic on his injury
“The most important thing is that the team did well today so I am very happy for them. Unfortunately in one of our recovery sessions, I got involved and fell awkwardly and injured my left shoulder.
“It’s pretty nasty but I am perfectly fine. The medical staff have been very helpful and I expect the recovery time to be very long. But these things happen. It’s my collarbone - I ripped my ligaments. For now, the best thing is to be calm as much as possible and rest the shoulder and let it heal.”
Paunovic on Olise taking over from penalties
“The most important thing is that we have penalty executors. We gave chances to Lucas but once he was not comfortable taking them anymore, it was the next man up. In this case it was Michael who had a huge desire to step in. You have to show they matter to you and you are efficient - and this is Michael’s case. Puscas is another one in the line.”
Paunovic on defensive performances
“It is the whole team - the whole team does the job. And circumstances like Liam Moore coming back - giving his leadership (help), Yiadom and Richards being in his best form like the first half of the season.
“Tom Holmes and Rafael being very confident and secure - that all helps. In front of the defence we have warriors who always keep their shape and keep to the game plan. All this helps - it’s a team effort and whoever does it has to be committed and on the same page.”
Paunovic on Tom McIntyre’s versatility
“Tom played at the start of the season as a number six, coming off the bench. It wasn’t anything new today, then. The whole group can do that, though. They are so intelligent, so eager to receive information and apply it efficiently. I’m very happy to have Tom.”
Paunovic on Ejaria’s absence
“He felt discomfort in his hamstring after the Blackburn win. A scan showed a minor injury/soft tissue so we are expecting him to be back this week in training and available for Forest. We’ll have to monitor his progress day-by-day.”
Paunovic on the latest on Meite and Gibson injuries
“They are in their final stages so they will join the team this week, we’ll see if they can be available for Saturday. We expect they will. We also expect Andy Rinomhota to recover well, so we’ll see. He’s at the same stage as Ejaria. He is recovering very well.”
Paunovic on how pleasing is it to be six points off second so late in season?
“It speaks volumes about the group. We saw a team today that was hungry to win, hungry to prove themselves to the world and hungry for achievements. We keep that group on the same path so far and I’m very happy to work with every single one of them, every day, in and out. We’ll do the same and I still think there is room for improvement. There has been a huge improvement since that initial eight-game run.
“I think we are a better team now than then and that progress and consistency in getting better and reaching different milestones - that approach helps so much. We’ll keep doing the same moving forward, look to build our momentum over the next three games, and most importantly, in the next week we need to give guys a huge thumbs up and time to rest. And when they come back to train, we do everything again.”
Paunovic on how impressive have Joao and Puscas been together
“It helps them a lot, and the team to play more as a partnership. Having Olise and others behind who can provide good balls is also helpful. We have to look to develop that potential.
“When opponents see on a teamsheet, Joao, Puscas, Meite - they ask how are we going to stop these guys. It’s something we still have to achieve but we are doing a good job so far.”