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Veljko Paunovic warns Reading this is just a ‘good beginning’ after Watford win

Reading v Watford – Sky Bet Championship – Madejski Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic warned his team that there is still a “long way to go” after they picked up their fourth successive Championship victory since the start of the season with a 1-0 victory at home to previously-unbeaten Watford.

Watford almost went in front midway through the first half when midfielder James Garner’s 20-yard free kick struck the home crossbar.

But Reading poached the lead four minutes before the break, George Puscas turning sharply in the area to score with a deflected close-range effort.

Neither side created many chances in the second period, with Reading comfortably holding on to make it four wins out of four.

“We have a fantastic team spirit and we are building up our foundations and our identity,” Paunovic said. “These are the keys moving forward.

“We played against a very good team and that gives this win even more importance. We are happy with our performances, we’re happy with how the team is developing and how the guys are bonding.

“But we know that we haven’t done anything yet. It’s just a good beginning and we still have a long way to go. All this helps, though. It helps the team’s belief, it helps to set up and build these foundations.

“This is very important for a young team and a new coaching staff.”

Paunovic added: “It was the hardest game that we have had so far because the teams are now getting more into the season and getting in better shape – us included.

“In the first 15 minutes, to be honest, we struggled to adjust to Watford’s attack. But, after that, we made a good job with the adjustments.

“We regained our control and had the game where we wanted to be. The team again showed a fantastic performance, especially the winning mentality in defence.”

Paunovic held a post-match huddle on the pitch, with even the injured players on the sidelines joining in.

“It was great opportunity for us because we know that we have a two-week [international] break ahead,” Paunovic said.

“So it was a kind of recap and to recognise the great job that we have done so far. All the great effort and commitment from everyone.”

Watford’s unbeaten three-game start to the league campaign, under new head coach Vladimir Ivic, came to an end.

Ivic, Paunovic’s former team-mate with Serbia & Montenegro in 2004, said: “We created a lot of chances in the first 25 to 30 minutes of the game.

“We were better than Reading. They didn’t come into our box in the first 30 minutes. In that period, it could have been two or three zero for us. And we hit the bar from the free kick.

“I was satisfied with the first 45 minutes. We were the team who were organised and dominant. We created a lot of space but the problem was that our final decisions were not good enough. This is something that we need to improve.

“In the second 45, we started to dominate but without creating the chances like in the first half. And then in the last 15 to 20 minutes, it was something that I didn’t like from my team.

“We started to be nervous, to be frustrated, because of the result. We need to speak about this and improve on it.”