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Veljko Paunovic demands more from his players after Reading’s defeat to Luton

Reading v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – Select Car Leasing Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic has urged his players to show more “urgency, anger and courage” after a 2-0 home defeat against Luton left them battling against relegation from the Championship.

In a generally poor game, Luton went ahead shortly after the half-hour mark through the headed own goal from home centre-back Tom Holmes.

Reading were little better after the break, with Luton easing to victory thanks to a second goal in as many games from Allan Campbell.

It was Reading’s eighth successive home game without a victory.

“We have to look for an immediate reaction to this,” Paunovic said. “We have to play our games with more urgency, more anger and more courage. In the past, we have often done this.

“I was very disappointed with the mentality and character that we showed. We have lost games in the past but we have never been so flat. It’s always a time for self-criticism and I put myself first.

“We have to improve and I also have to find ways that I can improve. There weren’t many exceptions tonight but I would like to highlight [central defender and captain] Michael Morrison.

“He was coming back from a long injury but he is going to be a big help for us going forward. At the end of the day, both of the Luton goals were mistakes by us.

“It certainly is a time for self-criticism but, at the same time, I don’t think that people should go too deep and spread negativity. That’s not what we need now.”

Luton have now won three of their past four league games.

“I thought that we were excellent in possession and out of possession,” Luton manager Nathan Jones said.

“Structurally, we were really good, too. We worked incredibly hard and also defended our box when we needed to. We also had a threat going forward. We didn’t really play with the same quality that we normally do in the first half. But I thought that we were better in the second half.

“It was a tricky little game, we knew it was going to be like that with the predicament that Reading are in. But I thought that we deserved the win and we had an element control for most of the game. It was never straightforward or routine. Coming away from home never is.”

Jones is not yet contemplating a push for the play-offs.

“Sure, we want to be ahead of where we were last year, wherever that takes us,” he said. “Let’s see where we can go.

“But we know where we’re from and we fear no one. We’ll just try to keep picking up points.”

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