'I have to congratulate Norwich' - Royals boss full of praise for champions

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic before the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell Stadium, Barnsley.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic congratulated Norwich City for becoming Championship champions. - Credit: PA

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic found the title celebrations at Carrow Road a hard watch after the impressive nature of his side's first-half performance.

The Royals took the lead against Championship champions Norwich City after 12 minutes courtesy of a Josh Laurent header, but a second-half collapse saw the hosts romp to the title. 

Despite the Serbian being full of praise for the 'consistency' of City, he was disappointed with the second-half display of his side and feels Reading were left to rue missed opportunities. 

"Firstly, I have to congratulate Norwich," Paunovic said. "They have done a very good job - that is obvious. And they have been consistent throughout the whole season. We have to acknowledge a very good team and we wish them the best of luck.

"The result though is tough to see, especially because we played some of our best football in the first half. We should have been 2-0 up and then we conceded the equaliser which was tough on us.

"If it had been 2-0 up at half-time, you start the second half looking for your opportunity for a third. Instead of that, we went in at 1-1 and got completely the opposite."

MORE: City's title win in pictures

City turned on the style in the second half to run out 4-1 victors, but Paunovic believes the scoreline doesn't reflect the application and commitment of Reading's squad. The Serbian says his side weren't there to merely contribute to the Canaries' title celebrations.

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"The first half was a very good match-up between the two teams who played good football. That's what we came here to do, play good football.

"We wanted to come here and challenge them, prolong their wait to celebrate the title...we didn't come here to surrender," the Reading boss told the club's official website.

"But we lost in the second half. The guys gave their all and we tried to keep playing our football. But in the end, it seems like we were here to contribute to their celebration. That's not the case.

"We had chances. But we didn't convert. And again a lack of killer instinct, lack of execution - that's what I'm not happy about recently. And it is something we have to learn for next season."

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