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Veljko Paunovic On Derby Win: ‘It Is Just The Beginning’

The gaffer’s full thoughts after a 2-0 win on opening day puts Reading second in the table.

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

What a start! It has been a long time since Reading fans have had something to cheer about for the first game of the season, but the Royals sit second in the table after a 2-0 victory against Derby County at Pride Park.

New manager Veljko Paunovic was very happy with the performance that the Royals put in, but felt that there is always room for improvement.

Lucas Joao gave Reading the lead in the 40th minute with Ovie Ejaria doubling the lead five minutes later. Joao could have made it three in the second half but hit the crossbar.

So, it has been really positive start of the season with two wins out of two since Paunovic took charge. Here is what he had to say after the game, he spoke to the official club website and GetReading.

Paunovic on the performance

“I always say, we can always do better. But definitely a fantastic performance. Today we saw all the non-negotiables that we are asking of the players. Commitment. Intensity. Playing for the team.

“And on top of that we saw us play good football in the first half. Very good execution on set pieces. We saw creation of opportunities where we could strike more and better. Today I saw the team I want to have. I saw the potential. But that is the challenge. The challenge is to keep that.

“This is just one game. It is just the beginning. It is a very good beginning, but we haven’t done anything yet. But today I am very happy and very grateful for a great performance that the guys gave today.

“They showed fantastic spirit and played some very good football - especially in the first half when we created opportunities and chances to excel in our talent.”

Paunovic on Ejaria’s injury

“They are battle wounds. He should be fine. We have to evaluate his situation but we don’t believe it’s a big thing.”

Paunovic on McIntyre’s absence

“He joined the team on Thursday and didn’t have time to work with us on the game. We didn’t have time to evaluate him before either but it was important he came with us to listen and the experience. He should be available in the next couple of games.”

Paunovic on Liam Moore being captain

“He deserved it because of the attitude and communication he has shown. People should have another chance. There must be a commitment to that and we connected very well. We understood that.

“Communication is one of the pinnacles, together with the values and the convictions we have. He is a family guy and I value that a lot. I want to develop his role in the team, together with Rafael’s role as another captain, and Morrison.

“Leadership is going to be crucial this season and I’m thinking of all of them being an important part for us this year.”

Paunovic on the quick turnaround

“It’s just common sense, what we’re trying to do. We work every day with a lot of videos and a lot of coaching. We were intense with that but it was the only way. We don’t have time to lose and we have to work very efficiently.

“We have to polish a lot of things though in the coming weeks. It’s already starting to get busy but the next few months will be demanding. We have to take advantage of every opportunity to coach.”

Paunovic on Joao’s performance

“I really liked what I saw. I think there is an upside on his game. If he comes out to every game like he did today with the eye of a tiger and he’s never satisfied with a performance or what he’s achieved so far then we’re going to have a fantastic performance this season. This is what we’re looking for.”

Paunovic on moving forward

“We approach one game at a time. We approach each day at a time. And then we evaluate and try to improve it. I think we have a very good team, gifted players... but we have to improve.

“The talent is great, but we have to connect the talent together. They have to appreciate playing together and know the different qualities they can all bring. Everything is there, we just have to polish the details and work on getting it consistently.

“I was very happy that I could see in the team today, my identity. Never giving up. When you have the opportunity to dominate, dominate. Keeping control and being creative in attack. And then when you have to fight - because you have a good team in front of you - you saw the team spirit. We showed guts when we needed to.

“And that is the bottom line, what we expect.”