“It was a good result against a good team,” said Sone Aluko after playing a starring role in our 1-0 win against Watford on Saturday.
“We wanted to keep our momentum going after three wins. We held on at the end, we defended really well and we were really organised. And George Pușcaș took his goal well. All in all, a good performance.
“Watford are a good team. Once we had something to hold onto, that gave us a bit more energy. We didn’t have to commit as many bodies forward, and that helped.
“And our shape was fantastic. We kept them out the box, the back four was brilliant, the midfield as well… a great team performance.
“If the team wins, I’m happy – I’m a team player. It was good for the manager, good for the team. Winning away at Cardiff, then at home against Watford… if you do well against those teams, it’s a sign that you’ve got a chance in this league. It’ll give the team a lot of confidence.”
It was Aluko’s first league start in a Reading shirt since February 2019 – and his inclusion was seamless in a team on a winning streak of form.
That was a reflection on manager Veljko Paunović’s inclusive spirit that has been fostered since his arrival ahead of the new campaign.
“The manager has been big on keeping everyone together,” continued Aluko. “It’s hard when your club has a lot of players; last season we had a big squad. This year the squad has been changing – the young players have come in and done really well.
“The club has a lot of togetherness right now. It helps when you’re winning! The vibe is good. Since the manager has come in, he’s been a real breath of fresh air and I’m working my way back into the team. So long may that continue.
“It’s hard work, there’s no other way to get back into a team. Especially when they win three games on the bounce! You can only do well in training and in the minutes you get, and try to get back in the team. When the team is playing well, it’s easier to slot in and contribute. That’s what I wanted to do today – have a good contribution.”
And has the perfect start exceeded expectations?
“It’s the aim to win every game, of course. But it is as good a start as we could have hoped for. We have momentum and the confidence in the team is high. We came into the Watford game quietly confident that we could make it four wins from four.
“So we’re not too surprised – that atmosphere in the changing room after the game, and out on the pitch is fantastic and it shows in the performance.”