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Veljko Paunovic On Cardiff Victory, Injuries And Team Spirit

The gaffer emphasised “warrior spirit” in a gruelling 2-1 win for Reading in South Wales.

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

Manager Veljko Paunovic spoke about warrior spirit after our fantastic start of the season continued at Cardiff.

The Royals sit pretty, top of the Championship, picking up three wins out of three. Michael Morrison gave us the lead early in the second half with Lucas Joao making it two shortly after. Cardiff did peg one back but Reading held on to seal three points. It wasn’t all good news though, Joao and Araruna came off injured, and news before the game of John Swift being out for the rest of the year.

Paunovic said he was proud of his players, he spoke to the official club website and GetReading.

Paunovic on the game

“The game was fairly even in the first half - both teams tried to find ways to the opponent’s goal - unsuccessfully, although we were unfortunate not to score. And we scored another very good goal after that. And then, when they scored, what I’m proud of is we didn’t get confused.

“We didn’t lose our composure, we still had to fight. We showed the warrior spirit which was required at the end of the game. Nine minutes, it doesn’t matter. It could have been fifteen - our mentality is to not give up until the very end.

“And we showed that we always have a game plan and we stuck to it today. We showed that we could go through some difficult moments in the game and we adjusted to the injuries we suffered.”

Paunovic on the players’ performance

“The defence starts from our front guys and they are doing a fantastic job. Huge credit to our midfield - to the two warriors, Andy and Josh. And then our four guys at the back and the goalkeeper - they are Spartans. Warriors! Fantastic.

“Everything is there, the team is still growing, but they are all connected, they have a huge spirit of belonging to the team and each other. So I’m very happy with the win and what the guys showed today.”

Paunovic on the team spirit

“I wish I could show you the locker room after the game. The excitement that was there. Three wins in a row is fantastic. I don’t want to stop that of course, but I also want everyone to know that we haven’t done anything yet. I love success. But I am responsible for how we prepare for the next game.

“You have to absorb good vibes and positivity, but you also have to channel that. Don’t relax and don’t stop doing the things that are helping us get to where we are. Always we have to have our shields ready. Always we have to be prepared for the next game.”

Paunovic on Araruna and Joao injuries

“It doesn’t look good but we’ll wait for the doctor’s assessment.”

Paunovic on the latest transfer news

“Regardless of injuries, we’ve said our plans in this window. Our plans are not going to change drastically but we still know the depth is very important.”

Paunovic on Swift injury

“He picked up an injury in midweek - a hamstring injury - and it doesn’t look good. We’re looking at a medium-term injury and we’ll see how it goes.”

Paunovic on having bad luck with injuries

“It’s unfortunate but this is the game. Nobody likes to see sad faces on our players, especially when these injuries happen. But on the other side we know this is part of the game, we’ve all been through it.

“I always say to injured players, the first day of your injury is the first day of your recovery. You have to start healing with your thoughts, mentality and then put yourself in the position of the specialists who will help you.”