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Positive Paunovic looking forward to next season at Reading

Barnsley v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic hailed the “huge improvement” in his side – compared to recent seasons – as they secured a seventh-place finish in the Championship with a 2-2 home draw against Huddersfield.

Town went in front through Josh Koroma but Reading were ahead by half time thanks to goals from Michael Olise, with a penalty, and Yakou Meite.

Although Reading dominated most of the second half, they missed a series of half-chances – allowing Rarmani Edmonds-Green to level in the 93rd minute.

Despite Reading winning only one of their last 11 matches of the campaign, Paunovic said: “I think that the season has been a success

“I think that is how we should look at it.

“We didn’t finish in the best possible way or the way that we wanted to.

“Okay, maybe it is not quite a success. But I would definitely characterise it as a huge improvement this season.

“A huge improvement in the game, in our identity and in our character. And, of course, an overall improvement in results.

“We had been in the play-offs for almost the whole season so it’s hard not to see that as a disappointment.

“But we have to remind ourselves that there are still a lot of positives and we have to build on that.”

Paunovic admitted conceding the late equaliser was disappointing.

He said: “It’s probably a reflection of how we felt two weeks ago when we lost our opportunity for the play-offs.

“It’s been hard since then to carry on but, to be honest, we’ve done a good job.

“We carried our spirit until the end today, until conceding the equaliser, but at least this draw helped us to achieve the barrier of 70 points. That is something.

“On the other side, I’m proud of the efforts of the team today and over the whole season.

“After the disappointment of missing the play-offs, the players have worked hard and kept themselves accountable.”

Paunovic, in his first campaign in English football, confirmed that he would like to stay at Reading next season.

“Yes, I do,” the Serb said. “I do expect that. I work as though I’m going to be here.

“I understand how everything works here and I will always give my best. I treat this club as my club.”

Huddersfield ended the season in 20th place, with only one victory in their last 10 matches.

Head coach Carlos Corberan said: “We didn’t get the result we wanted but we finished the game with the right mentality.

“We made a lot of passes but, at times, we made it too complicated for ourselves.

“The start of the game was very positive for us. But after we scored, we knew it was not going to be easy to defend because Reading have a lot of ability.

“They tried to attack a lot, they were trying to change the game, so we had to play with a lot of personality and character.

“Today, fortunately, we got a point. Even though it doesn’t change anything in the table, it changes a lot of feeling that we have inside ourselves.

“As a club, we want to grow and we want to improve the squad.

“I want to see a better profile of the team, better performances and better results.”