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Interviews

⚽ "You have to have the goals in your team on the field...and be clinical when you get your chance"

Royals boss reflects on opportunities missed at the City Ground and how three strikers can play together in harmony...

15 March 2021

A frustrated yelp from Lucas Joao at the end of our 1-1 draw at the weekend embodied a side who were frustrated to have to settle for a point on the road - in a game which saw the Royals dominate and create plenty of opportunities to take victory.

"He wants to score goals!" Royals boss Veljko Paunovic explained after the game. "If he was complacent and all smiles at the end of the game, I would not be happy about it.

"The chance at the end for Lucas – nine times out of ten he would strike on target, but his shot was blocked because he didn’t take that extra touch, the fake movement that he normally does before shooting. He rushed it a bit because of the urgency and of course the fatigue was kicking in.

"If you start a game with urgency and when you build your momentum early, you can convert that pressure you build. That’s when you’re fresher and you can be more clinical.

"Fatigue plays a part at the end of the game. Our equaliser didn’t come too late on Saturday, but we had spent so much energy by the time it came that that we couldn’t be clinical and get the winner."

"When you create so many opportunities, it was frustrating for us all not to get the win at the weekend. So we have to be more clinical.

"It’s normal to be frustrated. But we have to absorb it and channel it towards the next game."

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Twice the Royals struck the woodwork - through Joao in the first half and Yiadom in the second. Reading had three strikers on the field from the hour mark when the returning Yakou Meite was introduced to play alongside Joao and Puscas in attack - and although the substitute latched onto Joao's superb pass to score the equaliser, it came too late in the game for us to take any of the opportunities that followed.

"We were talking about having all three on the pitch before the game," Pauno said. "My vision is that all three of them can play and interchange their positions when they are on the field together.

"I learned during my time in the MLS that you have to have your ‘goals' on the field. You look at the records of your players, who scores the goals and you have to have them on the pitch.

"And if you keep your clean sheet, they will find a way to score goals.

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