Reading FC boss Veljko Paunovic rued his sides lack of clinicalness in front of goal after their 3-0 home defeat against Preston North End.

Defensive lapses ultimately cost Reading all three points, but a number of missed opportunities at the start of the second half were punished by the visitors - who condemned Reading to their second defeat on the spin.

Speaking after the game, the manager said: “Today we weren’t at our best in both sides of the game. We have to congratulate our opponents.

“The first half was back and forth.

"We had a sloppy start to the second and conceded a penalty.

"We then had a reaction and created two chances to score.

"But if you don’t score, it can go against you.

“We were then very anxious and you can’t do that against a team that is well organised. Our defensive awareness weren’t ready for the counter attacks that defined the game.

“I feel pain when you lose a game and you have to absorb it but you have to bounce back.

“We look to go back to basics. Be strong in defence and clinical in attack.

“We have to improve our defensive awareness. When we have the ball in their half, we have to be ready incase we lose the ball to be close to our opponent.

“Everyone understands what we have to improve and we’re ready for the next game. We have to absorb it and be ready.”

On a more positive note, Paunovic gave an upbeat update on the injury front - saying that Ovie Ejaria, Yakou Meite and Liam Moore could return for Saturday's game against Stoke City.

"There is an accumulation of fatigue and injuries, but we don’t want to put out any excuses.

"This team is good enough, even today if we scored our chances we would have won. It shows this team is good enough to win every game.

"We are definitely looking to go back to basics, we need to be strong in defence and clinical in attack.

“We were missing Yakou, Liam and Ejaria today through injury. The good news is that Baldock and Yiadom are back.

"In different moments they will come back and they are important resources for the team.

“Ovie is the closest to return.

"Yakou and Liam we will evaluate day by day whether they will be ready for Saturday.

"We expect Ovie to be ready for Saturday."

Paunovic also refused to rule out bringing in extra cover through free agents, with injuries taking their toll on the number of options the manager has at his disposal.

“We have weekly - it used to be daily - people offering players and ones we have identified in the past that could be available.

"But we are very cautious with that decision. Unexpected injuries make you rethink about that. It’s a resource we can’t ignore.

"We’ll look back again and re-evaluate if there is something which can be helpful."