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Paunovic slams ‘unacceptable’ performance and challenges Reading team to bounce back after Middlesbrough defeat

Veljko Paunovic
Luton Town v Reading Veljko Paunovic

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic criticised an ‘unacceptable’ performance after Reading slumped to a third home defeat on the bounce.

Ashley Fletcher and Marc Bola punished the Royals with goals in the first-half as they cut the gap to five points, while Reading lost the chance to make ground on the teams above them in the Championship table.

“We can’t afford to lose games at home. We don’t have the supporters advantage. It’s unacceptable and I’m not happy with it,” said Paunovic.

“We have to stay calm and bounce back immediately.

“Everyone in the league is fighting and there were a lot of results that were not expected.

“There are so many competitors in the Championship and we have to look at what was the reason for us not having a good start.

“In the second half there was a good reaction and the changes helped. That helped us play in their half, but we didn’t create clear or great opportunities.

“Not converting in the first 15 minutes of the second half prolonged our effort which was dissipated by their solid defence.”

The Serbian boss challenged his side to bounce back after a third consecutive defeat as they prepare to face Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday evening.

“We showed we have to improve our mentality. We can’t keep the ghosts from the past alive. The first half was on us,” Paunovic continued.

“We are playing in one of the hardest leagues in the world. The race is still on. It’s a marathon. We’ve had a setback but we can’t stop, we can’t look back.

“Our next opponent is the most important. When we played them (Wycombe), they caused us problems. It was a tough opponent. On their soil, I expect it to be even harder. I expect it to be a war out there.”

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