Reading remain in sixth after a tense afternoon at Oakwell with a 1-1 draw against play off rivals Barnsley. Ovie Ejaria gave Reading the lead with a well-taken goal just before the break. Andy Yiadom gave away a needless foul in the penalty area with the referee pointing straight to the spot. Alex Mowatt slotted home to make it level.
The game will be remembered for Lucas Joao’s miss to put us 2-1 up, but the less said about that, the better. Yakou Meite also had some chances but failed to hit the target. With seven games to go, every game is a cup final. Reading sit in sixth, two points behind Barnsley in fifth, with Bournemouth one point but retaining a game in hand.
Paunovic on the game
“I feel like it is two points dropped. I think we were the better team, our game plan worked well from the first minute and the best chances were created by us. We were expecting everything that they brought to the table - we matched up with them on that, it wasn’t easy on this pitch against a team who plays completely different to us, but we did well.
“We created the clear goalscoring opportunities. But in this league, you have to convert your opportunities, especially at this point in the season. The first opportunity was Yakou’s and Lucas in the second half - those are the key opportunities of the game.
“We have to keep putting more emphasis on working on our finishing. We have to appreciate the moments where we can really improve and sharpening our weapons is going to be a priority for us.
“But we were the best team on the field today and we deserved all three points in my opinion. The work rate and the spirit of the team was fantastic. We came here to win. I think we proved that. So we are disappointed, but not defeated. This is how we feel this evening.
“After a performance like this, I think we are on the right path. Securing a playoff place is not going to be easy. But we believe hard work pays off and we also know we have a fantastic group who believe in each other.”
Paunovic on Joao’s miss
“We’ve been in this situation before - it’s not the first time. It’s about support and demanding to improve that and recover as soon as possible. The team needs him and everyone to be right and ready for Monday. There is no time for lamentations but we have to understand we have to convert opportunities like this.
“It’s an individual approach for every player and I have a very good rapport with him. We talk about it and I let him express it and take it out. It’s important to hear his emotions and get his feedback to see if there’s something we hadn’t seen. It’s important to know what we can do to fix something to ensure these kind of things don’t happen.”
Paunovic on Michael Morrison’s injury
“He felt his hamstring that he has been dealing with over the past four weeks but we’ll know more over the weekend.”
Paunovic on Tom McIntyre’s absence
“It’s bad news - Tom is probably out for the rest of the season with his quad problem so that’s very bad news.”
Paunovic on John Swift
“He is getting closer and we just want to make sure we build his game fitness properly so we don’t have setbacks. I will not exclude him from Monday but we have to be careful. It’s possible he may have some minutes coming off the bench.”
Paunovic on bringing on Semedo
“He was very good. He had a lot of confidence. His national team achieved a very important goal and that boosts everyone’s confidence and we benefit too.”
Paunovic on facing Derby on Monday
“Every game is a must-win game, a massive game and every game is a hard game. The main thing now is to recover and focus for another tough challenge”
Paunovic on pressure from Bournemouth in play-off race
“We have to look at what we control, and that’s it.”