Veljko Paunovic: ‘We will give the fans a team they can be proud of’ says new Reading manager

New Reading manager Veljko Paunovic is excited ahead of a ‘new project’ as he prepares for his first game as Royals boss.

Reading begin their new Championship campaign for the 2020/21 season with an away trip to Derby County tomorrow and the new boss is relishing the challenge.

“This is a new beginning, we are starting a new project together,” said Paunovic.

“Everyone will have a second chance. There are lots of positives to build and we have to bring some new things with fresh energy and clear communication to raise the team to the next level.”

“People want to see the team playing and winning games. I have no doubt it will be a long season with different things throughout the year, there is a consistency in the approach we will have and I believe I will have time to do that.

“I’m all about football. Everything I have is thanks to this marvellous sport. I’m here to share that and ignite the possibilities and potential this club has.”

The Royals were led to a 14th placed finish last season under Mark Bowen, with Reading’s owner Mr Dai deciding to instate Paunovic as the new manager just two weeks before the new season.

And the new boss is keen to connect with the fans and stamp his authority after becoming the fourth managerial appointment since 2018.

“I want to connect with the fans, and them to have the understanding I’m here to help and to give our best,” he continued.

“There are no shortcuts for success. We will suffer when we have to suffer and celebrate when we can. We will give the fans a team they can be proud of.

“I was introduced to the team by Mark (Bowen) in Portugal. I spoke with Mark and he was fantastic, very approachable and shared everything with me. The circumstances changed. He did fantastic work with the guys.”

Paunovic is eager to instil a hard-working mentality into his squad and give the players an understanding of his tactical and philosophical approach to football.

“We want to be defensively organised and have a warrior spirit all the time, to help each other and have a positive attitude. Win the ball and strike back.

“I’ve worked with many successful coaches in this country, Ranieri and Unai Emery, and Slaviska Jovanovic and I had a lot chat with him to get some tips about this league.

“We have non negotiable things that are commitment, organisation and capacity to go forward and be dangerous in order to win.”

With the transfer window being extended into the season, Paunovic is hopeful of recruting some new additions but is mindful of bringing in the right qualities, while he also admitted that he is still learning about his new squad and is yet to choose a captain.

“We’re happy with what we have but we want to keep improving. The football world is unpredictable and we have to be proactive as much as we can be. It’s a game of adaptation and good planning, and of course good execution.

“I want my captain on the same page and have the right values and influence in the locker room. This is something I’m learning but we’re closer to making that decision. It’s not yet defined.

“The players don’t have to wear the armband to play like a captain. The armband is something important and its something I will have in my mind before I decide who leads on the field.”

Paunovic lauded the facilities available to him at the club and believes that the club andthe potential to play in the Premier League, but is remaining grounded and realistic with his long-term objectives.

“I’m very grateful to the owners for the facilities. If someone gave me unlimited resources to build, I would build exactly like we have.

“Its a huge resource for the team, for the academy and coaching development, for everyone who works at the club.

“You can feel the identity when you have a place where you can built that. It’s of great value.

“That’s the path to get to the Premier League, sooner or later.

“We have to understand the process of what that takes. Some people will stay, some people will leave. But then new people will come but we have to make sure that anyone new who comes in is adding value.

We want to keep building and improving. I want to be careful and not rush, but one day, this team has proved in the past it can be a Premier League team and we will work towards that with patience and be careful with managing our goals and expectations.

We’re in a position of being very careful with how we approach these things, Its a work in process.

I’m 100% sure we will have time and we have to use that it wisely.

“We understand where we are, we will always work together to reach our goals. we will be careful with setting reachable goals at the beginning and go game by game.”

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