Veljko Paunovic is finally finding out that the Championship is not so easy after all.
Paunovic won seven of his first eight matches in charge of Reading but has lost the next three, including yesterday’s 3-0 defeat to Stoke City.
Reaidng had started brightly but couldn’t find a way past Angus Gunn – then Tyrese Campbell, Steven Fletcher and Jacob Brown secured an emphatic result for Michael O’Neill.
Paunovic said: “The game started very well for us and we had very good opportunities but we have to learn those moments are crucial in the game.
“You have to have the edge – even when it’s early in the game – and take advantage of it.
“We have to learn this is a serious league where mistakes on both sides of the boxes can kill you.
“There is a mix of immaturity in some moments and fatigue accumulation and injuries that we are going through.
“But there were a lot of positives – the improvement and evolution in our game since we started the season in terms of controlling the game, the ball and creating chances – it’s huge.
“But but we slipped on the other side and that’s unacceptable. We’ll work towards improving it over the next couple of weeks.”
Stoke City manager’s verdict
Michael O’Neill suggested that the performance at Reading, in parts, probably wasn’t as good as Stoke had been in defeat at Watford a few days previously.
He said: “I’ll be honest, we’re delighted with the three points, clean sheet and three goals but in many ways we probably played better on Wednesday – but it was good to show those characteristics today.”
Where will Stoke City finish this season?
How much has Tyrese Campbell developed in the past year?
We asked the Stoke boss about the progress of Campbell, who was all-but set to leave the club when O’Neill was appointed a year ago today.
Latest promotion odds
Stoke have come in from 11/2 to 9/2 heading into the international break.
Bournemouth 1/1, Norwich 11/10, Brentford 11/8, Watford 15/8, Swansea 4/1, Stoke 9/2, Middlesbrough 5/1.
Player ratings from the Madejski
Who impressed and with whom have we been too harsh?
Morgan Fox might go below the radar sometimes but it was our verdict that he had his best match for the club yesterday. Agree?