Veljko Paunovic described Saturday’s victory as ‘three points we worked very hard for’ after a 1-0 win against QPR at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Reading made four changes going in the game with both Lucas Joao and Yakou Meite out injured, and it didn’t get much better with Omar Richards going off early in the first half. Michael Olise came on in the second half and scored a fantastic goal on his 19th birthday to secure an important win to leave the Royals fifth in the Championship, four points behind first-placed Norwich City.
Paunovic on the win
“A fantastic goal and a fantastic performance from the team - against a very good opponent who had a great atmosphere with their fans back in the stadium. I really enjoyed that. It was a great evening of football. And on this occasion we picked up three points and worked hard for those three points.
“This win is going to help us going forward. Every time we keep a clean sheet, it helps us develop the mentality of the team, staying solid at the back and being patient to wait for your opportunities in attack.
“It’s a superb result. We showed great team spirit and we are already recovering the identity we forged at the beginning of the season with strong performances, good results and clean sheets. It’s nice to have a team and a group of people that work together with an amazing spirit and fight to play every game until the end.
“I’m very happy for Michael to score the goal on his birthday and give himself his own birthday present. It is the media’s job to lift him up but it is our job to keep his feet on the ground. I’m very, very happy with the team and the performances of the individuals.”
Paunovic on Olise’s winner
“We definitely enjoyed it - especially our team and fans are going to enjoy it more than anyone.”
Paunovic on bouncing back
“We built very good form in the past five games. The overall performance against Birmingham - I thought we deserved to draw but it didn’t happen.
“This win helps create another momentum which we’re looking to have moving forward, especially with Norwich to come on Wednesday. Playing in front of our fans is going to help a lot.”
Paunovic on Olise’s 19th birthday
“We celebrated it in the hotel at breakfast. We brought him a cake and we sang it. After the game the guys did the same so we did know.
“This is not about how we celebrate - the most important thing today was that everyone played for the team, Michael included. He delivered to the team and to our fans a fantastic performance with that stunner at the end.
“We are pleased with his performance and we know how talented he is. We’re looking to help him in everything he needs but we also know there’s a long way to go and everyone in the club has to stay humble about him and around him and his environment.
“I still believe he has to improve his leadership, his potential and the way he can impact every game.”
Paunovic on why Olise was left on bench
“In this game we needed to give him a break. We needed to go with more experienced players who could do the job before. On the field he needs to have the right set-up in front of him and when he came on it was the right moment, no doubt.”
Paunovic on Olise’s muted celebration
“Michael is very young and very special... a special talent and he loves being special. He loves to be noticed as different which talented players always do - they always do something different on the field in terms of performances and how he celebrates.
“This is all normal - we are aware we have a very talented player but our job is to keep his feet on the ground.”
Paunovic on Richards’ injury
“Hamstring. We will see but we don’t see him recovering this week.”
Paunovic gives a Meite injury update
“In the collision v Birmingham he received multiple injuries. One is his ribs, the other is not a head injury but the impact and the most difficult is his knee. It’s going to take longer than we all wanted and we’ll have to wait until January to see. This month he won’t be available.”
Paunovic on Joao injury
“Soft tissue injury. We are looking at three to four weeks to have him back.”
Paunovic on a lack of strength in depth
“We always look to provide our players with the tools to prepare and we always demand they are ready for their opportunities - so next man up.
“We are very happy today with everyone who stepped in. It was a solid performance from everyone. We kept consistency in our game plan. It was a great win and performance.”