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Veljko Paunovic pleased as Reading top table but injuries mount up

Tottenham Hotspur v Reading – Pre-season Friendly – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: John Walton)

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic was happy to see his side make it three wins in a row to top the Sky Bet Championship table – but not so pleased to be facing a hat-trick of injuries.

With John Swift missing from the 2-1 win at Cardiff through a hamstring injury, the Royals then lost right-back Felipe Araruna and star striker Lucas Joao.

Joao hammered home his fifth goal of the season, and his 10th in his last 12 games, to give his side a two-goal lead after 66 minutes before dislocating his shoulder in a heavy fall.

“Lucas Joao’s injury doesn’t look good, but we will wait for the doctor’s assessment. He dislocated his shoulder, but it soon went back in,” said Paunovic.

“We will see how it progresses, but injuries seem to be a never-ending story. Things like this happen, and you can’t control them, so it is a case of next man up.

“The win reflects the spirit and the team did very well. The identity is still forging, but we have a game plan and we stick to it.

“We adjusted to get through difficult moments. It was very even in the first half, but we finally opened up the game and it changed when he got the first goal and then another good goal to increase the advantage.

“I’m proud because we didn’t lose our composure when we were under the pressure in the end. We showed a warrior spirit.

“I wish I could show you the excitement in the dressing room. Three wins in a row is fantastic, but we haven’t won anything yet and we will continue with the same approach – recover, prepare and go again.

“The start is not a surprise to me. I always believed in the best possible outcome and in those around me.”

Cardiff boss Neil Harris was left to reflect on a second successive home defeat after the 2-0 reverse against Sheffield Wednesday.

The result also means Cardiff have not beaten Reading in their last 10 meetings.

“The frustrating thing for me is we’ve conceded four goals at home, and look at the goals. We have to learn,” said Harris.

“The first goal against Sheffield Wednesday we gave the ball away cheaply and the second came from a set play.

“Then today the first goal was from a set play and the second was from us giving the ball away cheaply in the middle of the park.

“That’s what hurts. We were the better team, we created the better chances, got more balls in the box, had more set plays and we lost the game.

“After Sheffield Wednesday I questioned their focus, but not today. If we want to be a top-six side, we can’t give away poor goals.”