Royals boss Veljko Paunovic remained upbeat despite his side falling to a 2-1 defeat against Norwich City at the Madejski Stadium.

Emi Buendia put the Canaries ahead after just 11 minutes after a poor pass from Andy Rinomhota was ultimately punished by the talented midfielder who fired home from the edge of the area.

Michael Olise got the feintest of touches to a Ovie Ejaria to divert the ball beyond Michael McGovern to level the scores shortly after.

But a second half penalty from Teemu Pukki earned a win for the Canaries.

Speaking after the game, Paunovic said: "The  team gave its best and you can't ask for more.

"I am very happy with how quickly we recovered in the first half after the goal.

"In the past, it would have taken much longer for our team to bounce back.

"We were still well organised and looking for our opportunities and the goal came from one of the switches we had prepared.

"At half time, we prepared for their changes and we prepared to play on the counter attack.

Paunovic refused to blame any officiating decisions for the defeat, saying that he wants his team to focus on what they could've done to get a result, rather than blaming any contentious decisions.

"I've received about 15 messages from friends and family saying 'hmm, it's not clear if it was a penalty'.

"I haven't had a look but it is football.

"If it was or wasn't a penalty we can't change it. We will work on what we can control and will seek for improvement in our game.

“We looked to effect them on the counter attack but the penalty changed the game.

"You have to be ready at adapt and look for your opportunities.”

Eyebrows were raised among some Royals fans ahead of the game with Reading lining up without a recognised striker.

Explaining the decision, Paunovic said: "We wanted to play with a false number nine, because we wanted to overcrowd the midfield where they were very strong.

"It worked well but the weather and field were tough for us, so we had a lot of losses in the area.

"We changed in the second half, but the penalty made us change our approach again.

"I was very happy with the understanding our our team and the willingness to implement the idea.

Behind every line up, formation and game is an idea to make sure we are competitive and try to win games."

The boss gave an injury update after the game, confirming that John Swift is the only injured player closing in on a return.

"It is a fact that injuries are affecting us but they're affecting the depth more.

"Anyone who steps on the field gives his best.

"We look to implement the qualities and properties that every player has when they step on the field or called upon.

"In terms of the players who are soon to return - Swift is probably the only one [before the end of the year].

“We are expecting Swift to build his fitness with a game in the Under 23’s. 

"We are looking to have him for the Boxing Day fixture.