Reading FC boss Veljko Paunovic remained upbeat despite seeing his side fall to a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road.

The hosts raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of a quickfire double from Ismaila Sarr, a lead that the Hornets held onto until the final whistle.

Reading looked lively in the closing stages of the first half but faded after the break and ultimately fell comfortably short of the high-flying hosts.

Speaking on the performance, the Royals boss said: "The tough part of the game is the result.

"Everything else, we were fantastic competitors and played great football against one of the best teams in the league.

"But, unfortunately, the outcome isn't what we wanted. The execution is very important and today it wasn't there.

"I can't say we didn't start the game well, I will give the credit to Sarr and their team for how they started and the fantastic goals. They were astonishing.

"We gave the second one away a bit.

"Other than that, our team created opportunities - especially in the first half.

"Football was cruel to us today."

Despite finishing the first half on top, Reading faded after the break and struggled to lay a glove on the hosts for much of the second half.

When asked about the performance levels of both halves, Paunovic said: "We still created good opportunities.

"We got in good positions in the field but we rushed the final pass.

"In the first half, we did have the final pass. In the second half, our final pass was rushed.

"That is the reason why Watford was better in defence after the break. I put that down to us.

Lewis Gibson started the game in place of Omar Richards and had a difficult evening up against the goalscorer Sarr.

Explaining the decision for Gibson's inclusion, Paunovic said: "Omar didn't start because he was still sore from the knock he received (against Derby).

"We believed we have to start the game without these things on the field. 

"Lewis has been so resourceful for the team this season, we were absolutely comfortable with him starting.

"The two goals we conceded was everyone's fault, including myself. 

"To be honest, this is football. We make decisions and we have to live with that.

"At this point of the season, it is good to have resources."

Lucas Joao struggled to make much of an impact in the final half an hour after coming on from the bench in place of George Puscas, who missed a big opportunity in the first half.

Speaking on the duo's performances, Paunovic commented: "We always expect to get more performances. It's obvious we expect Lucas to score, but today he didn't.

"When we made that substitution, we wanted to see that impact in the final third. I think he tried his best.

 "George had a similar situation in the last game against Derby and he scored. We're never going to blame anyone.

"These players really want it. That group is one of the best groups I've worked with. If someone misses, it's not because they haven't given their best. Nobody is there to blame."