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Veljko Paunovic On Cardiff Draw, Joao and Play-Off Race

Here’s how the gaffer reacted to a deeply frustrating result for the Royals at home to Cardiff.

Bristol City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Veljko Paunovic said everyone is still fighting and nobody is giving up after Reading drew 1-1 against Cardiff in what was a must-win game. The Royals did not turn up in the first half and looked lacklustre, so much so, Michael Morrison said on Sky during half time that Paunovic needed to put a rocket up them!

The second half it was much better, but Omar Richards fouled Kieffer Moore in the penalty area, he then stepped up and slotted home late on which looked to secure three points for the visitors. Yakou Meite headed home a very late equaliser which was much-needed, but possibly not enough in our play-off bid.

We remain seventh, four points behind both Barnsley and Bournemouth. With four games to go, it is a mountain to climb, but it isn’t over just yet. Paunovic cut a frustrated figure at the end of the game; he spoke to the official club website and GetReading.

Paunovic on the game

“The result is not what we wanted and I’m unhappy about it. We played a very solid game and confronted and matched Cardiff well throughout the match. In the past we have struggled against a direct approach like they had but unfortunately we conceded the penalty that changed the game. Prior to that, it was all about us.

“Our first-half chances were not very clear but they blocked and defended very well. After we conceded, the reaction and the composure of the team didn’t crumble. It was appropriate.

“We understood it was time to put more numbers in attack even before their goal. We changed our shape and became more attacking orientated but it was unfortunate to concede on the breakaway and they got the call (for the penalty).

“The goal came when we really started to push a lot of numbers forward, looking to win the game and we threw everything at it out there. But in one of the breakaways they found their opportunity and won the penalty kick. We immediately looked how to get a reaction and we bounced back. We got the goal, late but not too late.

“We don’t have time to be negative. We have to find solutions. We had to get the team to regain their composure and to react. And that’s what we did. Once again we showed that we never give up.

“Today, we had to confront their way of playing and try to impose our game. But it’s not always easy and we’re not always successful in doing what we want to do out on the field. But it’s about our response - we are not going to crumble and complain if this game is not the game we wanted to play.

“We controlled large parts of the game, we created opportunities - not clear chances in the first half but we came much closer to scoring on a few occasions in the second half.”

Paunovic on our play-off chances

“Nobody is happy with one point. But at least it is something. We will keep pounding. Nobody is going to give up. And we will see what it is worth at the end of the journey.

“When I am standing on the side lines, I see a great team playing good football and a team who never gives up. I see everyone on the same page, from the first minute to the last - and that keeps me believing.”

Paunovic on Joao’s injury

“The first time he got the injury (in September), our medical staff were able to re-locate his shoulder immediately but this time he needed to be transferred to hospital. He’s being attended to there. He recovered very quickly the first time - for one week I think - so we hope it can be the same.”