Veljko Paunovic says Lucas Joao was a disappointed man at Deepdale

Reading’s Lucas Joao (right) is consoled by manager Veljko Paunovic
Reading’s Lucas Joao (right) is consoled by manager Veljko Paunovic (PA Wire)
16:02pm, Sun 24 Jan 2021
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Veljko Paunovic felt Lucas Joao’s mood could have impacted his penalty miss in Reading’s 0-0 stalemate at Preston

Joao missed from the spot having been felled in the closing stages of the match at Deepdale, missing out on a win that would have taken the visitors level with second-placed Swansea.

“With Lucas, when he scores and when he misses we give him support,” said manager Paunovic.

“We gave him support in the changing room. It happens in football, but it is also true that maybe he contributed to himself and his mood when he took the penalty.

“Very early in the game he was disappointed because of the way that things were developing on the field.

“I think we did a lot and had our opportunity and we weren’t lucky enough to convert and get the whole three points.

“We’re disappointed and frustrated but I always use these disappointments to channel it into the next game and next opponent in a positive way.

“The team played very well in the second half and created a lot of opportunities against a team that is not easy to play at this stadium.

“The conditions weren’t great but I think we put up a very solid performance, but this draw feels like a loss.”

This was just Preston’s third draw of the season. They were second best for large parts with a well-organised Reading defence limiting North End to just two shots on target throughout the match.

Three home debutants took to the pitch including Daniel Iversen, with the goalkeeper certainly making his mark in the Deepdale stalemate.

“We started the game extremely well for the first 15 to 20 minutes and they looked their most dangerous from set-plays and free-kicks,” said manager Alex Neil.

“I thought defensively we were really strong. I can’t think of too many opportunities they had throughout the match.

“I think the penalty is a tough one. It was one of those ones where the initial contact comes from Joao but probably not enough to be a free-kick to us. I think the more the move develops then it looks more and more like a penalty to them.

“But I’m not quite sure as a defender how you get out of the way of a 6’3 centre forward who has got a grip of you with both hands.

“Going forward we lacked a little bit of cutting edge and it certainly wasn’t because we didn’t commit enough men forward. We just really didn’t have enough quality and guile to damage.”

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