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Let’s keep eye on the ball and stay humble, urges Reading boss Veljko Paunovic

Reading v Watford – Carabao Cup – Second Round – Madejski Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

New Reading manager Veljko Paunovic urged his team to “stay humble” as they reached the top of the early Sky Bet Championship table with a 2-0 victory over nine-man Barnsley.

Barnsley dominated most of the first half but lost Polish defender Michal Helik in the 42nd minute to a straight red card.

Reading went ahead in the 67th minute through substitute Yakou Meite, who nodded in from close range.

Mads Andersen, Barnsley’s other centre back, was also sent off – for a second yellow – before Michael Olise made it safe for Reading with a 30-yard piledriver.

“I always wanted to be here at the club and to have this opportunity and I am enjoying this moment,” Paunovic said.

“But I want to say this and I should have said this first. We have to be humble, we have to stay humble.

“This is just the beginning. We haven’t done anything yet. Yes, it’s been a good start, but that’s all it is.

“So I don’t want anyone to think that this is going to be easy.

“It’s going to be a long season and the expectations that maybe we are creating, we are going to have to manage them very well.

“I’ll be the first one to say, ‘hey, hold on’. I’m only watching the calendar for our next game.

“We are very happy with our performances so far, especially in today’s game.

“It looks as though we had a good result today but it was very hard, particularly in the moments when we played 11 v 11.

“The opponents were consistent in their style, very intense. And they were winning their battles.

“But we were matching up with them so I think that we had a very good response.

“We were just starting to get in behind Barnsley and we had challenged them a couple of times. One of those times turned out to be the (first) red card.

“From that moment, we needed to adjust to the new situation. We needed to adjust and they needed to adjust.

“It’s mostly all positives today but the most positive thing for me was the spirit and the team’s consistency, organisation and focus.”

Barnsley have lost their opening matches of the season – against Luton at home and now at Reading.

“I think that the red card decisions were right,” Tykes boss Gerhard Struber said.

“The decisions from the referee (Tim Robinson) are OK, we have accepted them – even if it is not easy to.

“But in the first half, until the (first) red card, we had the game completely in our hands.

“Especially when we speak about our build-ups, our transitions and our counter-pressings.

“Everyone was very good, everyone knew his task.

“In the end, it is very difficult and very disappointing for every single player that we lose this game.

“From open play, Reading had only one good chance. So it is disappointing that we lost to two set-pieces.

“We had to do a lot of hard work in the second half from everyone and nobody gave up. From a mental point of view, it was a very good performance.

“But from the results in the Championship, we have two games and two defeats. This was not the way or direction that I expected.”