Reading manager Veljko Paunovic is trying to regain his squads form from the start of the season in order to continue progressing.

His side were unbeaten, winning seven and drawing one of their opening eight fixtures but have since lost their last three on the bounce.

In the opening spell of eight unbeaten matches his side were renowned for their strong defence and being able to win tight games, which can be seen from the fact that they conceded just three goals in that time.

However they have since conceded nine in three matches and scored just twice.

This is a pattern the former Chicago Fire boss has also noticed, and insists he is working on returning to the sides opening form.

“The main thing we have to prove is that we can bounce back.

“We have to recover the performances we had at the beginning of the season.

“I always said that we were very happy with our defence but we have to get better in attack without affecting the defence.

“We have to look for that balance, well now we have improved in our attack, we did not score as many goals as we should have but we created enough opportunities, more possession than we used to.

“One of the main things we looked at was that all the teams that got promoted had very high possession of the ball, very high number of duels won, very high passing completion and we were matching all of that.

“So there was an improvement, an evolution, in our team which is a positive.

“In attack we created opportunities, we had shots on goal that we didn’t have in the past, so can we be accurate when we create opportunities in those moments where we are dominating in attack without affecting our defence?

“Finding the balance between these two will determine how we do in the future but now I want to get back to our state of mind where we are very solid in defence without losing our improvement in attack.”

With the unexpected start Reading have made there is now added pressure on a squad not used to challenging at the top end of the table.

Handling this expectation is something Paunovic is very aware of:

“We are no longer the underdog which we are depending on how you want to see it. People respect us a little more and we have to know that we have a responsibility with that.

“We have to show what we did so far is a part of not only the process but what we are, our identity.

“We will continue building the team, continue improving wherever we have to improve, but every day when we step on the field our negotiables have to be there and have to be shown despite who is in front of us.”

The first test of this improvement is promotion-chasing Bournemouth on Saturday, with Reading hoping to beat the Cherries for the first time since 2001.