Reading boss Veljko Paunovic slammed his team’s inability to take advantage of playing at home after his side lost their game in a row at the Madejski Stadium. 

The Royals fell to a 2-0 defeat to play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough, a defeat which followed home losses to Brentford and Millwall all within the space of ten days. 

Reading’s loss means Middlesbrough and Cardiff are now just five points behind the Royals in the Championship table. 

READ MORE: How the players rated after home loss to Middlesbrough 

And Paunovic lamented his team’s failure to capitalise on home advantage at a crunch time in the season. 

Speaking after the game, he said: “We can't afford to lose games at home. 

‘We don't have the supporters advantage but we still control this environment. 

‘But this is unacceptable and I am not happy with it. We have to bounce back immediately.'

Reading started the game the better side with a number of half-chances but the Royals were unable to convert these opportunities.

But this hard work was soon undone when Middlesbrough opened the scoring on the 22nd minute. 

Paunovic criticized his team’s intensity in the first half. 

He added: ‘We have to look at what the reason was we didn't have a good start. We didn't look like the team we always are at the start of games. 

‘We had a lack of intensity.

READ MORE: Match report as Reading lose to rivals Middlesbrough

‘'We definitely cannot repeat a performance as we had in the first half.’

And it was the way Reading conceded the goals which upset the manager. 

Paunovic continued: ‘'We haven't conceded many from set plays so that first goal really hurts me. 

‘What leads to that was a foul which in my opinion wasn't a foul, but we don't control that. We lost concentration and focus.'

When questioned about the Royals’ recent trend of conceding twice in quick succession, the manager said: ‘We have to look at conceding goals quickly. For those ten minutes our body language wasn't good.'

'Big players and big teams embrace adversity. We have to reduce the frustration and disappointment. Changing somebody's mentality is the hardest work in the world.'

READ MORE: Goals and updates as they came in as Reading lose to Middlesbrough

Reading have a chance to rectify their recent run of form with a trip away to lowly Wycome on Tuesday evening. 

With games coming thick and fast, Paunovic urged his players to put their perforamances right. 

He added: ‘'I'm looking to tell everyone we are playing one of the hardest leagues in the world. But the race is still on. It's a marathon. You can't stop or look back.

'Our next opponent is the most important the hardest opponent we have.'

‘I expect a war [against Wycombe]. My warriors must give their best on Tuesday.'

The boss said Yakou Meite was being assessed weekly for his injury, which has kept him out of action since Reading faced Stoke earlier in the month. 

Despite the injuries, Paunovic indicated his faith in his squad.

He continued: ‘We get results no matter what. That's the strength of this team and this group. I'm very happy with the group and looking forward to all injured players coming back.'