Speaking after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hull City, Reading manager Velijko Paunovic didn’t hold back as he accused referee Stephen Martin of costing his victory by turning down three strong penalty appeals.

“We don’t have VAR but the ref today did a very good job positioning himself. But I don’t understand. You know I don’t like to talk about officiating. But these kinds of decisions cost us the playoffs last year. And this year? Hopefully nothing. But today (it cost us) at least two points. That’s difficult to cope with. And it’s not the first time. Every team can probably look at their own season and say points were also taken here and there. 

“Today it’s just the culmination. Here at Reading, we feel that something is wrong with how we’re treated. And that’s difficult to live with. But we will focus, refocus on controllables, and hope that this is genuine. Although it has to be looked at because I believe everyone should be held accountable the same as we, especially the managers are. We will refocus on controllables and that is our life.”

Reading Chronicle: Scott Dann vents his frustrations at referee Stephen Martin. Image by: JasonPIXScott Dann vents his frustrations at referee Stephen Martin. Image by: JasonPIX

Asked whether he’d like to see VAR brought into the Championship, Paunovic responded without hesitation.

“I think it would help, definitely. I think there are versions of VAR that are in discussions - a sort of VAR-lite - that would reduce the costs and time of reviewing. I definitely think that would be helpful and in other countries such as Spain that operate in similar ways to the Premier League and EFL, they do have VAR. I understand the issue with cost and maybe that is the reason right now.

“I believe Swift’s penalty is on the line, but that’s why you need VAR for more clarity. It’s difficult that because of the judgement of other people we don’t get a win today. Teams that want to play attacking football and do well, you need to have the benefit of review.”

“The ball is directed towards our player and the hand intercepts the pass,” the manager said of the third and final appeals against Di’Shon Bernard who appeared to handle the ball. “And the hand is not in a natural position - although I understand the flow of a jump, but you can review a very similar situation where after the review Newcastle got a penalty this same week.”

Hull boss Grant McCann understandably took a more relaxed view on the three contentious incidents, claiming that “in football, you win some, you lose some.”

Tom Holmes gave Reading the lead on the stroke of half-time with a ridiculous overhead kick, but Hull hit back shortly after half-time when Luke Southwood spilled Malik Wilks long-range effort into the net.

The draw sees Reading move up to 20th in the Championship table, five points clear of the relegation zone.