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💬 "Not a good day and we have to react immediately!"

Royals boss Veljko Paunovic reflects on a disappointing defeat and a performance that was missing the right mentality at times...

20 February 2021

Neil Warnock's teams always aim to frustrate their opposition and today was certainly a frustrating afternoon for the Royals. A 2-0 defeat and we were not anywhere near our fluid best against a Boro side who made up ground on the top six as a result.

"We didn't have a good performance, especially in the first half," Pauno began. "We have to acknowledge that this was one of our worst games of the season. 

"Some fatigue and a little bit of relaxation after a great result in Bristol are to blame.

"We didn't turn our engines on from the beginning - and that wasn't a fatigue problem, that was the mentality. The mentality wasn't right.

"We didn't impose our high tempo, we didn't start on the front foot - and that helped them find their momentum. 

"At half-time, we went back to our basics, back to our structure. And in the second half the guys gave a good reaction, kept running and gave huge effort -  and even though we didn't create great opportunities, we just needed one of them to end in the goal we were looking for and it would have got them off our necks and sent a clear message to them that we were looking to come back.

"So if Yiadom's effort had gone in, I'm sure it would have given us the impetus to look for another and it would have been a different game.

"It was the same thing in the first half...the first opportunity was ours. But we missed our precision today - and that's related to the mentality and a little bit of fatigue.

"We always have a very good spirit but today it was missing at the very beginning. And we are a team who has to be at its best.

"The mentality is something that is fixable. So we will fix it. We can't afford to lose our focus, our concentration.

"At this point of the season we can't be casual, not for a single second. That is something we have to improve."

Our opponrnts delayed the game at every opportunity to disrupt any flow Reading were finding and with a two goal advantage they defended resolutely to restrict the Royals to very few meaningful chances in front of goal.

"We told our players not to get frustrated, we know that is their game. But it is one thing being ready for it, but it's another actually dealing with it out there. 

"We can't lose these home games. It's fixable, but we have to see an immediate reaction.

"It's a long season, a tough season, a marathon. And you have to know how to deal with adversity and setbacks like today. 

"You can't lose your composure, you can't lose your belief, you can't lose the trust in the guys around you, you can't lose belief in yourself.

"So we've got to keep it up. We can't overreact to a setback like today. We have to stay calm. Fire inside, calm outside."

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