Royals manager Veljko Paunovic praised his sides defensive display after they held high-flying Swansea City to a draw at the Liberty Stadium.

The hosts were on top for a lot of the game, but a staunch rear-guard performance meant that Reading earned an impressive point in Wales.

Speaking on the quality of both goalkeeper Rafael and the whole defence in the game, Paunovic said: "It was very important for him and the team to show us what Rafael is. 

"He is the stone, the pillar of our defence and it was important to recover his great performances today.

"I think the whole team had a great performance in defence, we never give up, fight and play until the end. 

"We built our identity on our defensive performances at the start of the season and we're slowly but surely recovering that.

"We were organised and we were brave, also lucky, and together with the great performance from the defence and Rafael, that's the summary.

"I always have and had huge belief and trust in Rafael and I never doubted him for any second. Also, I don't want to bring up the past performances. I never was upset with his performances and I always believe he would help the team when we needed him. We needed him a lot tonight."

Paunovic also expressed his happiness at the performances of youngsters Tom Holmes and Tom McIntyre, who've come into the side following injuries to Liam Moore and Omar Richards.

Speaking on their performances, the Serbian boss said: "This is a completely new back four we're playing right now and they were waiting for a long time.

"[Tom McIntyre] especially waited a long time for his opportunity. He's worked hard and showed patience. It's paid off so I'm very happy for him.

"It helps the team. We're clear in how we communicate our expectations. I think it helps everyone to fulfil their objectives and their goals."

Reflecting on his time at the club so far, Paunovic said he was 'very proud' to be going into 2021 in the play-off spots.

"I'm very proud of the ground of people I've found here. We built a great spirit and identity so far, it looks very positive moving to the next year.

"It was a hard year for everyone, I want to wish the fans all of the best for 2021. There is a bright future coming for Reading FC."

The transfer window will open at the start of the new year, but the boss wouldn't be drawn on any potential imminent incomings at the club - and also discussed the future of Olise amid further speculation of a possible release clause.

"At the moment, there are no updates. We are looking at certain players that are free agents and possible loans. Brexit is going to affect a lot of our possibilities towards the next window. 

"Moving forward, we will see. Our scouting department is doing huge work to identify our prospects and fulfil our requirements and we will see how we can intervene in the market.

"I think we have to be very careful talking about contracts. There is always confidentiality involved and if there is anyone releasing that information they have to be careful.

"What I can tell you is that Michael is in the right and best possible place for his career. We want him to be with us for a long time and hopefully Michael and Reading together in the Premier League at one point in his career."