World News – GB – Why reading is revitalized under Veljko Paunovic as it takes first place


Posted: 12:40 GMT, October 30, 2020 | Update: 12:40 GMT, October 30, 2020

Reading fans’ reaction to Veljko Paunovic’s appointment at the end of August swung between baffled and downright fatalistic

Aside from the chorus of « Veljko who? » there was an avalanche of replies on Twitter containing words like ‘mayhem’, ‘tinpot’, ‘tug of war’ and ’embarrassing’ One fan wrote: ‘How much will you need pay him when you fire him in December?  »

There was also disgust at the club’s treatment of his predecessor Mark Bowen who, after making the jump to sporting director by actually naming himself, had restored some respectability

Reading has had a brilliant start to the season and is six points ahead of the league standings after winning seven of its first eight league games

The appointment of unknown Serbian manager Veljko Paunovic at the end of August – barely a week before the start of the season – made fans fear the worst

It didn’t bode well for a successful season. Surely Paunovic was destined to quickly become the fifth Madejski Stadium coach in three years?

So seeing Reading six points clear at the top of the league after eight games, without suffering a loss yet and with just three goals conceded, surprised many inside and outside the club.

Reading made a long journey north in their stride on Tuesday night as they beat the Blackburn Rovers 4-2, but there is no time to congratulate themselves with a visit to Coventry looming on Friday

Even by championship standards, it’s a grueling schedule that leaves little time for a new manager to implement new ideas on the training ground

More remarkable is the fact that Paunovic had the luxury of only a week and a pre-season friendly to get to know his new players after Bowen left and his rushed date.

Then there was the problem of virtually no transfer budget to work Reading, which is owned by Chinese businessman Dai Yongge, suffered losses of £ 40million in April, spending unsustainably 225 £ for every £ 100 of income on their inflated payroll

And that was before the Covid-19 crisis which has seen their 24,161-seat stadium remain empty on match days since March

This led to a massive erasure of players over the summer – including academy product and Under-17 World Cup winner with England, Danny Loader – and just a handful of arrivals Ovie Ejaria’s loan to Liverpool has been made permanent, while Josh Laurent has arrived for free from Shrewsbury Town

The on-loan arrivals of Lewis Gibson of Everton, Alfa Semedo of Benfica and Tomas Esteves of Porto late in the window filled the gaps, but no one was watching the Reading team and anticipating a challenge from promotion

Yet here we are.After seven out of eight league wins, Paunovic quickly banished the mood of disillusionment and fostered a fresh spirit in a club infamously accustomed to relegation battles since losing in the 2017 play-off final against Huddersfield

That fresh spirit started when Paunovic led the team in a performance of Happy Birthday for academy graduate Nelson Abbey at 130 a.m. after meeting them for the first time at a camp. pre-season training in the Algarve

The Serbian, a former midfielder, played alongside Christian Vieri, Diego Simeone and Fernando Torres on two stays with Atletico Madrid

Lucas Joao scores his seventh goal of the season – from the penalty spot – against Rotherham

And he followed it up with his eighth of the campaign in a 4-2 win at Ewood Park

In 2012 he took over Serbia’s youth squads, starting a three-year process that saw the country win the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2015, beating Brazil in the final

The often nomadic life of the football coach then took Paunovic to the Chicago Fire in MLS He took them to the play-offs in 2017, for the first time in five years, although he ultimately lost more than matches he hasn’t won in four years there

But Paunovic is cultured, engaging and eager to learn He speaks five languages ​​- English, Spanish, Serbian, Macedonian and Russian – and is currently perfecting his German on audio tapes whenever he is in his car or when he is jogging

His other form of escape from management pressure is to read voraciously, and some of Paunovic’s post-game commentary so far this season suggests familiarity with the classics

He spoke of Reading’s ‘warrior spirit’ after last month’s 2-1 win in Cardiff and spoke of ‘warriors wanting to become knights’ after Saturday’s 3-0 home success against Rotherham united

Defenders Michael Morrison and Liam Moore are also unlikely to have been described as ‘two Spartans’ before, but another clean sheet against Rotherham earned them that title.

Paunovic’s tongue won him over among Reading fans You would suspect that if fans were currently admitted to the Madejski, the average gate would be significantly higher than last season’s dismal 11,375

Rock-solid defense was key with the ever-present Morrison and Moore – and Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael Cabral – violated just once in league action – by Lee Tomlin of Cardiff

Despite three goals on Saturday – including an early goal from season contender Yakou Meite, an acrobatic kick – and four at Blackburn, Paunovic knows his offense still needs work. They create fewer chances than almost all of them. the other teams in the division and had only four shots on target Tuesday night

But those few chances are certainly taken Portuguese striker Lucas Joao is on fire, with his eight-goal tally in seven games already surpassing last season’s six-in-19 tally

Midfielders Ejaria, Michael Olise, Laurent and Andy Rinomhota also had a great start to the season, as did winger Meite

Given the near absence of preparation time, Paunovic wasted little time getting his team out

It may be the club’s best start to the season in 35 years, but fans are yet to expect a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2013

Let alone a repeat of Reading’s extraordinary 2005-06 campaign when they won the league with 106 points, scored 99 goals and lost just twice all season under Steve Coppell

Paunovic has wisely spoken about the need for some form of consistency in an even more compressed and even more difficult championship season than ever before

It’s a year that demands a “warrior spirit” more than ever and, who knows, Reading can have it

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Reading FC, EFL Championship, Coventry City FC, Veljko Paunović

News from the world – GB – Why reading is revitalized under Veljko Paunovic as they occupy first place
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