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💬 "The next game is all we have, it's all that matters"

Royals boss on recovery, overcoming injuries, the confidence in the squad and our focus on the next fixture

3 November 2020

Wednesday night and we’re back in action. And after the team coach departed St Andrew’s on Friday night, attention immediately turned to righting the wrongs of our first defeat of the season.

“All we have is the next game, there is nothing else,” Royals boss Veljko Paunovic said.

“We believe in the team, so we just encourage our guys to bounce back, as soon as possible in the best possible mindset, because we have our next game on Wednesday and we have to be ready.

“There is a fantastic affection between the whole group here. We have got a fantastic atmosphere. And the confidence of the group is there; we felt we could and maybe should have won on Friday night.

“But can we do better? Do we have to do better? Yes. We even said when we were winning that we could do better and that we have to keep improving. That is the mentality.

“It’s easier when you win of course. But we will stay disciplined. We started looking to the next game the morning after the defeat at Coventry, analysing everything and seeing what we can improve, and we’ll continue to take it one game at a time.”

The injury list is starting to mount for the Royals as they go into their game against a North End side in fabulous form on the road.

The Royals lost Liam Moore to an angle issue at Coventry, Yakou Meite took a knock in the win at Blackburn, while Ovie Ejaria is still recovering from an injury picked up against Rotherham at the Madejski. Holmes and Baldock are also recovering from injury, while Swift, Yiadom and Araruna are longer-term absentees.

“We have to recover from our wounds and prepare our bodies and our mindset has to be ready for another difficult week against two very good opponents at home,” Pauno continued.

“We don’t allow ourselves to dwell on injuries. There are no excuses. We will always keep ourselves accountable for our performances.

“And we have to be ready for Wednesday night. We have to do a good job of recovering from fatigue and knocks ourselves – the players’ mindset and bodies have to be in the best possible shape.

“What hurts me is seeing our players getting hurt and missing games, missing the opportunities to perform and play football. We don’t control injuries though, we can only control our attitude and how we respond to our busy schedule. We have to keep improving, recovering and keep everyone connected.

“And it is important that everyone stays engaged. Because if an injury does happen, then the next man has to step up.”

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