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Veljko Paunovic frustrated as Reading lose unbeaten record

Middlesbrough v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Frustrated Reading manager Veljko Paunovic criticised his side’s lack of ruthlessness as they crashed to a first league loss of the season with a disappointing 3-2 defeat away to Coventry.

Gustavo Hamer’s goal gave Coventry the lead before Lucas Joao equalised. But Matty Godden and Sam McCallum secured the Sky Blues a much-needed three points.

A late George Puscas goal was not enough to salvage anything for the previously undefeated Royals and Paunovic said: “Coventry’s goals killed us.

“But we have to congratulate them. Today they were better in executing their opportunities.

“Scoring two goals on the road is good, but if you concede more then it brings you to this situation where we are all feeling defeated.

“In a game where we did pretty well – especially on the ball – we could have scored more and should have been more clinical.

“That’s something we have to do, be ruthless in attack like we have been so far this season, taking our first or second chances.

“I would say if you look at our game, when you see that we were the more attacking side, we had fantastic dynamic flow of the ball, but we conceded goals from shots we didn’t block. They did, which is something we have to improve on.

“But overall from a performance side I’m very happy with my players and I think they did well, we just lacked that killer instinct that unfortunately for us Coventry had tonight and we have to congratulate them for it.

“I’m pleased with our start to the season and I think we’ll carry on in the next game but it’s a hard loss.

“We scored two but conceded three, but apart from that the performance was there.”

Hamer’s delightful goal gave Coventry the lead 23 minutes in. Reading struggled to get into the game until leading scorer Joao’s 66th-minute equaliser.

Godden then reinstated Coventry’s lead with a poacher’s finish, before a stunning long-range effort from substitute McCallum put the hosts 3-1 up with five minutes remaining.

Puskas made it a nervy end after slotting home for the Royals in the second minute of injury time.

Delighted Coventry boss Mark Robins beamed: “We dealt with them pretty well. It was really important we got the three points for our confidence.

“To beat the top side who’re flying, they’ve been the best team so far, to win and to play in the manner we did was really good.

“Brilliant endeavour, commitment and some really good football played – all three goals were brilliant.

“Hamer’s goal was brilliant and that was what we were after. Max Biamou was unbelievable, he worked really hard for the team which was what we needed.

“That goal gave Matty Godden a real lift and there was some good contributions from everyone else. And for Sam McCallum to come on and do what he did was brilliant.

“They have some top players but we matched them. We were good and though it was a really poor equaliser to give away, I thought we were worthy winners. Especially after we built momentum.

“They are a really good side but we did a superb job of making it difficult for them.

“Especially as we’ve had so many injuries, people out and some players not quite up to scratch, but ultimately we did well and I’m very, very proud of their performance.”