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Veljko Paunovic Emphasises Team Mentality In ‘Fantastic Performance’

Pauno described Reading’s display against Watford as the most complete he’s had so far.

Reading v Watford - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Our unbelievable start continues after a superb 1-0 victory against Watford at the Madejski Stadium. This by far was our toughest test of the season, with Watford unbeaten heading into the game, and the visitors definitely prepared well for the fixture. George Puscas was handed a start with Lucas Joao on the bench, and Puscas scored the winner to secure our fourth win out of four.

Veljko Paunovic was proud of his players and showed this by a post-match huddle on the pitch, the togetherness that we have perhaps missed at the club for a while. After the game, he spoke to the official club website and GetReading.

Paunovic on the performance

“It was a fantastic performance in all aspects of the game, on and off the field. And when you see the team playing like this, you just have to give them big credit and a big hug to every single one of them.

“This was a unique performance because we were up against a very good team. We didn’t start well but we adjusted and after 15 minutes or so we got control again and started playing how we expected and wanted to play.

“We got back our control and the team showed a fantastic performance in defence, in terms of the winning mentality, and a fantastic team spirit. We’re building up our foundations and our identity and these are the key moving forward.

“We played against a very good team which gives this win even more importance. We’re happy with our performance so far and how things are developing. And also how the team is bonding but we know we haven’t done anything yet.

“It’s just the beginning and we have a long way to go, but all this helps. So far, this was maybe the most complete performance of the season so far given the circumstances.”

Paunovic on players stepping up

“Be ready for the opportunity. That’s what we always say. That means you have to prepare and work as hard as everyone else as if you are playing on the Saturday. And that mentality, that attitude, this afternoon brought us performances from the guys who haven’t participated so much in the first few games. They were ready today.

“And that gives you a great confidence moving forward. We know how important the depth is in the team is and we know we can rely on these guys who are 100 percent committed. The whole squad is connected. These are things that are special about this team.”

Paunovic on our start and heading into the international break

“These first four games were a great milestone for the beginning of a new start, with new people, new players, a chance to set the foundations and to build the identity and the winning culture.

“Nobody here is satisfied with just winning one game. This is the mentality we are looking for. We will always be competitive, always hungry. It’s good to have this international break, but we’re all hungry for the next game already.”

Paunovic on the post-match hug between squad and staff

“The break gives us a chance to recap and recognise the great job so far, and the effort and commitment from everyone. So it was a great chance to bond in that moment and it was important to do it.

“It reflects what we want to be throughout the whole season - united and together in good and difficult moments. Definitely so far good things are happening - we have to appreciate it and enjoy it but know we have two weeks to work and analyse where we can improve.”

Paunovic on injuries

“Ejaria showed up with symptoms of stomach flu a few days ago so we protected him.

“Baldock - he became a father this morning so he called to say he would like to be with the family and we always say family first. We congratulate from here to him his wife and his whole family for this fantastic event in their lives.”

Paunovic on Sone Aluko

“He was cramping up and he hadn’t played a long time in 90 minutes. I’m so proud and grateful to our guys for giving their best.

“When you give your best and there is nothing left there is nothing else you can expect and I really appreciate that.”

Paunovic on transfers

“We are closer to the end of the international window - we see we need depth and we have some things in place but we have to be cautious what we say or what we can expect, most importantly. We don’t want to create expectations until we can realise though.”