Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic’s verdict on Sheffield United draw and John Fleck collapse

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic felt fatigue was the reason for his side’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Tuesday night.

Jayden Bogle scored the only goal of the game at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Royals fell to their fifth defeat in their past seven Championship matches.

Reflecting on the game, Paunovic said: “Everyone knew this was a game of one goal or whoever scored first had more possibility of winning.

READ MORE: Reading vs Sheffield United – recap all the action as it happened

“Both teams I believe suffered from fatigue in this game and around the league you can’t see many goals so it indicates at this point in the season, an early midweek game affects both teams in terms of the quality.

“We knew we had to be patient. We defended very well with the ball but we didn’t create the right momentum.

“They didn’t threaten us and we didn’t threaten them. It was a very flat half.

“In the second half, we were good until we conceded the goal and that was the key for everything. The lack of urgency – just one second of missing concentration and not stepping up to defend the cross – cost us points.

“We fought back and we were planning to bring Andy Carroll on at 0-0 but we conceded the goal [just before].

“Our plan was to change the game [with him] and we wanted to be more aggressive in the second half but just because of his fitness he could only play 35 minutes.

“It was unlucky we lost the momentum when we conceded the goal. We did well with the couple of opportunities we created but the team needed more freshness to draw the game.”

Jayden Bogle celebrates

Aside from the result, the main talking point from the game was an incident just past the hour mark when United midfielder John Fleck collapsed on the field.

The Scot received around 10 minutes of treatment before being helped into an ambulance and sent to hospital.

Paunovic added: “The experience we all had was so dramatic and so horrible. I’m happy and I hope John will return as soon as possible in good shape and to his normal life, playing football like he did before.

“I hope he doesn’t have any consequences after this incident – the collapse he had.

“We send him the best and to his family and friends and wish him a quick recovery and return to play.”

READ MORE: Our Reading FC player ratings vs Sheffield United

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