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Veljko Paunovic Calls Huddersfield Defeat The ‘Worst’ In His Tenure

The gaffer had an awful day on the road to mark the weekend of his one-year anniversary in the job.

Huddersfield Town v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by John Early/Getty Images

It was a day to forget for the Royals after a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.

This is our fourth loss this season, and we currently sit just outside the relegation area. Huddersfield took the lead shortly before half time through Lewis O’Brien. It was then a difficult 20 minutes at the start of the second half, conceding three through Matty Pearson, Sorba Thomas and Danny Ward with some very suspect defending.

Manager Veljko Paunovic said this was a game to ‘forget as soon as possible’. Here is what he said after the game; he spoke to the official club website, Reading Chronicle and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the defeat

“It is a game to forget as soon as possible. But we can’t forget the way we feel right now, and we have to use that feeling to fix things. We need to recover all those non-negotiables that we had had in the past – all of our principles.

“Everyone is conscious of the importance and impact of this loss. We have to stay away from negativity. We know that at this point everyone will have answers, but we have to stick together as a team.

“There are many games to play. And now we have a good two weeks of work and spirit-lifting to do. We have two weeks to reassess these circumstances, learn from it, and most importantly, to have a reaction.

“In the past, we have been good at reacting. So the next two weeks will be crucial for lifting spirit and lifting our game. This is part of the game and part of becoming mature – for the youngsters, and those who aren’t so young who might have forgotten how this feels, this is a good reminder. But it should only be a reminder – and it should never happen again.”

Paunovic on the start of the season

“Overall, the team didn’t have a good game. It is definitely the worst game we have played so far under my control. And that makes it a good moment to look for a reaction – to use the bad feeling that we have, that bad taste.

“Conceding so many goals hurts – it is painful. This team can do good things and do much better. So we have to get everyone on the same page during this break. Get the spirit back, bring the warrior spirit that isn’t there at the moment.

“We have to be honest too – we are incomplete due to injuries and players that have left since last season.

“We have lost a lot of players from last season and we haven’t had the circumstances to replace them – and we have lost important players and important performers to injury. And we’ve lost players to covid. Those things disrupt our pre-season and our chances to have a good start.

“But on the other hand, we still could have done better today. The first goal hurt us – everyone did their best in that moment and we were a little bit unlucky… we managed to get some control back and it was achievable to turn it around.

“We couldn’t find a reaction in the second half and conceded a set piece, and from that moment everything was much harder. We haven’t played a game with this kind of performance since I’ve been here – so I am concerned and in the next couple of weeks I want to fix all of this.

“The image we projected in the second half was poor. But on the other side, there is always another game ahead to show a reaction, pride and what we are made of. We can’t fix this game now. But we can use it as a catalyst. To bring back the spirit we had, the mojo, the clarity.”

Paunovic on the defensive frailties

“There are many changes compared to last year and the team doesn’t only defend with two centre-backs. Everyone should defend in my team, in my system. When the team is not complete and you have to move pieces around, it impacts everywhere.

“I will always look at team performances over individual performances when looking at stats and other parts of the game, but we all have to do better but it’s not about one man or one line of the team.

“It’s the holistic approach we have to improve.”

Paunovic on transfers

“I can’t tell you if I’m confident (of new signings) but we’re working to fix things in the transfer window. It’s a possibility (players will leave).

Paunovic on the international break

“Over the next couple of weeks, we need to work, fix the errors and acknowledge where we need to improve. We’ll be off for a couple of days. Then we need to lift the spirit, mentality and willingness to do your best, work hard and learn what you need to do if you’re in a different position. Overall, a review of our performance so far this season must be made.”