Here's everything Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic had to say after his side were knocked out of the FA Cup by sixth-tier Kidderminster Harriers:

On the match:

This was a good experience for our youngster, a good fitness test for those who were coming back from injury, and definitely not the way to play the second half. That’s something that must be fixed.

On choosing to play a very young side:

Not at all. We need to think about the long term. We’re devastated with injuries, devastated with fitness levels of our players and we can’t risk. We already risked and lost Alen today and Felipe. That’s something we knew might happen in this kind of game. We must think about and prioritise what we’re doing and what is our approach.

The FA Cup is a very lovely and interesting competition but we are not in that situation. Don’t think we can risk and push forward in this stage where we need to recover guys. We can’t afford to lose more players. The whole season has been like this. We know why we are in this situation and we are working to fix it as soon as we can recover people and finally complete the team. 

I’m going to give you a heads up: January is going to be very difficult, very challenging for everyone. But if we are capable of not losing more people and recovering those who are close to getting back…today we had Drinkwater with the team, Andy Rinomhota, Femi who’s still catching up, Puscas who finally scored. Those were some of the positives.

We have to prioritise. For us, the approach and priority is the Championship. January is going to be tough and we are still not in good shape. But we have courage and the determination to fight forward because we believe that in the upcoming months when the team is regrouped and injured payers are back, we will be stronger.

On how this defeat compares to his lowest moments as a manager:

I would say this is a difficult moment but I don’t see it that way. 

On whether or not he'll be in charge on Tuesday:

I’m working as if I’m going to be definitely.

This is football. Anything can happen. I’m always giving my best and then whatever happens happens. We are going to keep doing what we can to do the best we can.

On the valuable experience for his young players:

There isn’t going to be a better opportunity for them to have an experience. Unfortunately, today is not the best experience, but it’s an experience. This is something that every player definitely experiences throughout their career to the extent that we needed to put them out there, they did well. Especially, Camara, I thought Mamadi was fantastic. 

On whether he was surprised by Kidderminster:

They are an organised team, they have quality in the front four. Nothing was unexpected from me and I believe the team also understood. First half we did very well and then from the moment Felipe got injured it impacted the team and we couldn’t come back. It shouldn't happen but that’s what happens when you have a really inexperienced team.

On how to bounce back:

It’s going to be a difficult one. We are going to regroup with the guys who stayed in Reading, have a good team bonding. 

On Alen Halilovic's injury:

I don’t think it’s a long term injury but he’s definitely out for the next game.

On the post-match scenes with fans storming the pitch:

I think we were trying to protect our players. We understand the excitement out there but there were a lot of insults towards us. I was very very worried for our players safety because it was too close and too aggressive. It was not safe. We understand the excitement, the only thing is the safety of all of us was put in jeopardy. But it’s not nice because you don’t know when somebody is going to step out of bounds. The first thing I thought was that it would be best to run inside, but I couldn’t leave my players out there so I went to quickly bring them inside and tell them to not respond. Especially Tom-Dele was insulted. We waited inside, wished their guys good luck. This is not how it should be.

On his side's fragile mentality: 

It’s a fact that we have to change but you can’t compare these two games and you can’t compare the teams that were out there. I think you guys forget that we played with eight senior players and some of them are just coming back from injuries, recovering from Covid…we are not ready and fit right now. I’m telling you, it’s going to be hard in January. So don’t ask me that question again. Because every game is going to be hard in January until we discover the form and shape and the guys.

On whether he still thinks he's the right man for the job:

I do believe. I believe in myself. You don’t know what I’m capable of. Things that we are dealing with are out of our control and as I said we focus on what we can control. Today we could have been better in the second half but if you play against an opponent and it’s not an easy task to play against an experienced team…it’s put more challenge to the game.

On Felipe Araruna's injury:

It’s looking bad. Dislocation of his capsule (knee). It looked horrible. He’s devastated and that moment, 1-0 we were up, and minutes after we conceded the goal. It changed the game. Worst of all is the impact that injury had, especially on the young players. We were shut down. We were shut down, not by our opponent but by the severity…because Felipe has come from more than a year out and he’s very loved. He’s one of the changing room favourites, so it was hard for everyone.