Six defeats in a row have made it a really tough time for Royals fans. This weekend, it was a 4-0 defeat against QPR at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
In January alone Reading conceded 20 goals; the last time this happened was in 1930. Manager Veljko Paunovic told BBC Radio Berkshire that, apart from the four goals, the Royals played well. I think many would disagree with this statement.
Reading remain in 21st, still two points ahead of Peterborough who lost to Sheffield United last night. Here is what Pauno had to say; he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.
Paunovic on the result
“Overall, we were poor and the result is not good. We gave away easy goals in the first half. Between the goals, we played well and before the first goal were on the front foot and had initiative and had set-pieces and corners. Until we conceded, we were the better side.
“We were attacking, and when we play with two strikers, we do have much more presence in attack. But on the other side we’re vulnerable in defence, and they took advantage of that.
“Not that they surprised us with anything – but we could have prevented it with better shape and better individual approaches towards certain situations in the game that cost us the goals. After the first goal, we gave away more mistakes and they punished us. Individual mistakes and mistakes as a group sometimes cost us the three goals in the first half.
“Then we needed to switch formation and make decisions and adjustments to stop the bleeding. It was important for the team to recompose in the second half. We had a better performance in the second half, but overall, not good enough for us.
“There’s no excuses. Defensively we weren’t good, and in attack we were also poor. We had a lot of shots and had possession on our side, but overall not good enough.”
Paunovic on the Royals having a break
“It’s an important period for us. It’s time for everyone to step forward and go in the direction we need. For too long, we’ve been saying the same things. We have to be much more action-oriented and involved in fixing things.
“It is unacceptable that we have conceded so many goals this year. In the moment when the team is down and weak, these things – errors and poor results – can happen.
“So it’s the moment to step in the right direction and to do the right things again, and fix all of our mistakes.
“When things are not going well, it is obvious that everyone will be attacked and vulnerable. We have to handle it and we have to fix everything. We are looking for solutions.”
Paunovic on ‘playing well between the goals’
“Defensively, we were very vulnerable. It’s unacceptable - conceding so many goals as we have done this year. It’s a consequence of everything that has happened and what goes around, comes around. That’s what we are suffering this month.”
Paunovic on there being no excuses
“There are no excuses, definitely. Defensively we were not good and offensively we were also poor. We did have a lot of shots but it wasn’t good enough. It’s the second time this team has played together so there are things to be done, still.”
Paunovic on off the pitch matters
“When things are not going well it’s obvious everyone will be attacked and will be vulnerable, but we have to handle it. We have to look to fix everything. We are looking for solutions and looking to fix it.”
Paunovic on moving aside
“I understand those feelings and this is football, but I have no comments.”
Paunovic on being concerned about his future
“I’m not concerned about my future. I’m a professional who looks to fix things and give my best.”
Paunovic on if a fresh pair of eyes is needed
“That’s your opinion.”
Paunovic on what it takes to change zonal marking
“Last year we showed zonal marking works very well, so it’s the attitude. Sometimes we change it, and sometimes it works, sometimes not. We review every game to see what we can fix.”
Paunovic on the threat of relegation
“It continues to be tough. Now we have to go on this difficult run.”
Paunovic on being confident Reading can get out of trouble
Paunovic on speaking with the owners about his job
Paunovic on speaking with them about the results
“We always speak about what we have to do, how to fix the situation and we are looking for solutions all the time. It’s a work in progress, always, even when things are going well.”
Paunovic on how close he is to finding solutions
“Results will tell. I can’t answer that question. Every game is open and gives opportunities. Sometimes we just miss and pay consequences.”
Paunovic on the side’s defending vs QPR
“The players are also in a difficult situation. Everyone wants the best, nobody is happy and things happen to teams like this when you are in this urgency and there are a lot of external doubts. It just puts more pressure on but the players understand it and are capable of reacting.”
Paunovic on expecting more of the players
“They give their best. Things don’t go well for us. It’s unlucky, but they did their best.”
Paunovic on transfers
“We are active and there could be someone coming in, so we’ll see.”
Paunovic on Andy Carroll leaving
“He sent us a nice message and wished us well. He was very good for us and we were very good for him.”
Paunovic on getting in defensive cover
“That’s what we are looking to get in the most. We are active on the defensive side of the team to improve that. Free agents are still possible. With Andy - he opened a slot on our squad.”