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‘We crumbled’ – Reading boss Veljko Paunovic on his side’s loss to Blackpool

Reading v Blackpool – Sky Bet Championship – Select Car Leasing Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Marper)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic admitted his side “crumbled” after they let slip a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2 at home to Blackpool in the Championship.

Goals from Scott Dann and Tom Dele-Bashiru had given in-form Reading, who had won five of their previous six games, a comfortable advantage after 21 minutes.

But Blackpool deservedly drew level with second-half efforts from Owen Dale and Jerry Yates, who then snatched the winner with an 85th-minute penalty.

“Definitely, in the second half, we failed as a team,” Paunovic said. “We have to acknowledge that we didn’t do a good job.

“We didn’t confront our opponent properly, especially when we conceded the first goal.

“We crumbled, we lost composure and we couldn’t come back.

“That’s something that is disappointing to see but we all acknowledge this mistake and accept our responsibility for this as a whole team. On and off the pitch, everyone who was involved, and I include myself in that.

“But we are a good team, we have a very good group, and I am 100 per cent we are going to fix this.

“The good thing is that we have a game on Saturday (Blackburn away). We need to recompose, regroup again, and this team can do great things when we are all on the same page.

“The Championship, once again, showed how difficult it is and how everyone can beat everyone. That’s why it is so exciting.

“Everyone can come back at you, especially when you are not at your best.”

Blackpool, promoted from League One last season, moved up to 12th place in the Championship.

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley said: “It’s hard to predict that you’re going to come back from 2-0 down against a team in such good form.

“But if we carried on performing how we did in the first half, then we knew we’d have a chance of creating an opportunity or two.

“I thought that we were excellent in the first half. We played some really good football and most of our play was in Reading’s half of the pitch.

“We just failed with our execution in the final third. And the goals that we gave away were really poor.

“There were no Churchillian speeches at half-time, it was just a case of reinforcing what we had been doing and giving the players some belief to carry on the way we had been playing.

“We knew that if we were to get the third goal, the game might change – and obviously it did. Perhaps the margin of victory could have been greater.

“I thought our spirit wore Reading down in the end. They were tired, dead on their feet, and we contributed to that.”