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Veljko Paunovic refuses to criticise officials after Reading’s draw at Hillsborough

Reading v Bristol City – Sky Bet Championship – Madejski Stadium
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic refused to criticise the officials after his side saw two strong penalty appeals rejected at Sheffield Wednesday.

Josh Laurent and Omar Richards both had convincing spot-kick shouts rejected as the Royals were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against a Wednesday side that played with 10 men for the final hour.

The hosts had taken an early lead through Callum Paterson but, after Liam Shaw was sent off for a poor tackle on Richards, Lucas Joao levelled with his 13th goal of the season on the stroke of half-time.

On his team’s failure to then go on and win the match in the second period and the penalties his players were denied, Paunovic said: “I did not look back at the penalty appeals after the game and I won’t complain about officiating.

“Like ourselves, everyone needs to be accountable for their own actions and it’s difficult to be objective when you are involved, but I thought two penalties were very possible.

“But we will use this disappointment and channel it into energy when we finally play in front of our fans again on Saturday. I don’t want anything to affect that and we have got to bounce back again.

“On the one hand, I was proud of this performance because the team did everything we had to do in this kind of game. We had good possession and created opportunities.

“But, on the other hand, I am disappointed that we didn’t get the result because we were the team who wanted to get most out of this game.

“We had a good spell in the second half, but I wish we had created a little bit more and this is something we still have to learn.”

Owls boss Tony Pulis agreed with Paunovic, admitting his side were fortunate not to concede two penalties and offered no defence for Shaw, but he was delighted by his team’s second-half spirit.

He said: “They are a good side and have game changers in their team, who are very dangerous when they get good possession. The sending off was a reckless challenge and you can’t do that.

“I understand why the referee gave the red card and we’ve got to be a lot more understanding of the rules in a lot of ways, because that’s our fifth red card of the season, which is really poor.

“Half-time then gave us a chance to make changes and make us more resilient and, in the second half, the players worked so hard.

“They lack certain things but they are a really honest group who are buying into what we are trying to do, although we had a bit of luck with certain decisions.

“I thought the referee was going to give two penalties and I’m absolutely delighted he didn’t.”