Reading manager Veljko Paunovic has revealed he told his players they needed to pick up a good result as soon as possible with all eyes on them after their six-point deduction, as he spoke to Berkshire Live.
The Royals received this penalty for breaking the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability regulations, vastly exceeding the £39m loss limit over a three-year period and being unable to generate enough revenue to compensate for their heavy spending in recent seasons.
Breaking their transfer record twice in the last four-and-a-half years, paying a reported £7m for Sone Aluko in the summer of 2017 before exceeding that in 2019 as they recruited Inter Milan’s George Puscas for a whopping £7.5m.
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Unfortunately, both moves haven’t worked out and the Berkshire outfit have been unable to produce the performances and results needed to get themselves anywhere near the Premier League, now paying for their gamble to get there with this deduction and a business plan they now have to follow to escape a further points sanction.
Their six-point punishment, which was applied last month, meant the club were sitting just two points above the relegation before last weekend instead of a more comfortable eight after suffering a narrow home loss to Sheffield United last Tuesday.
But their win at Swansea City last weekend extended their margin to four, something they will be looking to build on in the coming weeks and months as they look to put clear daylight between them and the drop zone.
Manager Paunovic has since admitted he told his players they needed to pick up a result quickly after hearing the news of the club’s point deduction in the middle of last month, winning just one point from a possible four against Nottingham Forest and the Blades since that development but providing themselves with a big boost on Saturday as they won three points against Russell Martin’s men.
Speaking to Berkshire Live, the Royals’ boss said: “Making a statement last week was very important. I told the players after the points deduction, this week everyone will look at us so we need a result as soon as possible.
“We need to make a statement and we achieved that goal with the Swansea game. Now, we have to build momentum so we can catch up those above us in the table.”
For a side that had already endured mixed form over the course of the 2021/22 season so far, failing to replicate their breathtaking start last term, getting points on the board quickly to halt their slide down the table was crucial.
Considering their deduction punishment could have been even worse though, they will be grateful that they aren’t in the drop zone currently despite receiving this punishment, which should give them the boost needed to continue pulling away from the bottom three.
Unfortunately, consistency has been a big issue for the Berkshire outfit this term, so they desperately need to win all three points again this weekend at home to a Hull City side that have won their last four league matches.
This will provide the Royals with a tough test at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, but they have the players on paper to be victorious in this tie, with the likes of Scott Dann, Danny Drinkwater and Andy Carroll needing to utilise their Premier League experience to guide the Royals through this game.
With all three starting last weekend, they are in line to appear from the off again, with midfielder John Swift also likely to be a real asset having recorded 17 goal contributions in 20 league games so far this season, even recording an assist against the Swans in a game where he didn’t make a huge impact on the game.