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Veljko Paunovic Talks Defensive Lapses In Bristol City Loss

The Royals conceded twice from set pieces early on, and poorly from open play soon after the break.

Stoke City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic believes the two early goals scored by Bristol City conditioned the game after the Royals’ 3-2 defeat at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

City were 2-0 up within the first 15 minutes through Andreas Weimann and Chris Martin. Femi Azeez scored in the 19th minute but Weimann scored his second of the evening to make it 3-1. Liam Moore scored a late consolation goal.

After the game, Paunovic gave an update on Lucas Joao plus transfer news. He spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the game

“We didn’t start the game well. I believe that conditioned the game – with us having to chase the game right from the beginning.

“After the second goal, we switched formation and the reaction was positive. We scored a goal very soon after and that goal gave us a certain boost. But we couldn’t get more clarity and creativity in the final third to create more problems and finish our actions. And at half-time they consolidated and regrouped.

“We predicted that they would be strong from a long throw so we said when we clear the ball we have to clear it big so not to concede throw-ins close to our goal.

“We expected that they would be strong from set plays so we told ourselves not to commit fouls in the final third. And we knew that they would also be dangerous with the long balls and from the second balls - and that’s how they scored their third.

“We didn’t give up. We played until the end. We kept bringing the ball forward. And with great leadership from Liam we scored our second goal and that gave us an opportunity to get a draw.

“Unfortunately the opportunities we created weren’t clear cut and I’m not happy about our final-third results. Efficiency and productivity in the final third were missing. So we have to address that.

“At the other end, defence is a lot about attitude. The commitment. And I don’t think that was missing today. Our mistakes were more tactical. So we need to improve our defence because we have conceded three goals again.

“I praised the boys for their commitment. They fought until the end. Now we have to recover and give our best again for the next game.

“This is an important loss of course, but we have to brush it off our shoulders. We have a long way to go and a long season to play.”

Paunovic on Lucas Joao’s absence

“When Lucas is on the field, we see a different attitude in our opponents. They are concerned about him and he helps others get on the ball.

“His injury is not looking good. It’s a long-term injury and we might have to wait until January to recover him so it’s a big blow. He ripped the joint of his hip so it’s possible he will need surgery. Specialists are discussing him having surgery in the next couple of days.”

Paunovic on George Puscas’ poor form

“He is working hard and doing his best and I’m sure at some point he will click and bring goals. But he was injured for a long time, he missed a lot of last season so he is paying the price for that now and the team too so we were looking to improve his game fitness.

“Now he has been called up to play where he is still not in his best shape and all the games - consistency and approach - will bring him to his best possible form so we will always support our players.”

Paunovic on the chance of getting in another striker

“At this point, not yet. Our situation has changed this past weekend so our priorities have to shift. We were focusing more on the left-back situation which was urgent for us but at the same time we are working on attacking pieces because we need goals.

“We need to replace our attack with goals. We lost 12-15 goals with Meite and now another 15-20 with Joao - and that’s half what we scored last year. So we need to improve in attack.”

Paunovic on Ovie Ejaria’s absence

“He tested positive for coronavirus so we’ve lost him to isolation for 10 days from when he tested positive. He’ll probably miss the whole window so it depends how he will recover.”

Paunovic on Yuri Ribeiro

“Who is Yuri Ribeiro? I don’t know anything about it.”

Paunovic on Tom Holmes speculation

“I have no idea about that, so no comment.”