The perfect start has rightly been recognised - Royals boss Veljko Paunović has been awarded with the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for September.
It is only Pauno's first month in English football but three wins from three in the league earned the Serbian manager a place on a four-man shortlist for the accolade and now, only a matter of weeks into his life as Royals boss, he had his hands on some silverware.
Six goals scored, just one conceded, nine points taken from nine available – two tough away days at Derby and Cardiff, as well as a patient triumph against a battling Barnsley side. It has been an incredible start to his Championship career considering Pauno only arrived at our Bearwood Park training pitches a matter of days before that impressive opening day win at Pride Park.
But as the Royals boss keeps reinforcing, this is not about him. This is a team effort.
“It is an absolute honour to accept this award and I am privileged to be the one who accepts it on behalf of the players, my coaching staff, the fans and all those at the club who have wholeheartedly supported us from the moment I was appointed as manager. This is for the whole Reading family.
“As I said in my first interview when I arrived in the country, this club and the players who play for it come first. I am just here to work for them. I have to thank the owners for the resources they have given us and the great working environment we benefit from every day.
“This good start has been a direct result of a lot of hard work and total commitment from everyone at Reading Football Club. A good start is all it is, however. So we will all continue to give everything to grow our identity, build a winning culture and collectively improve as we go forward together.”
Paunović becomes the first Royals boss to pick up a monthly award since Jaap Stam was given due credit for a fine string of results in January 2017. Before that, Brian McDermott won back-to-back monthly awards in the Championship in February and March 2012.
And Veljko becomes only the second Serbian to win a Championship Manager of the Month award in its history - Reading's manager follows in the footsteps of Slaviša Jokanović who won it in April 2015 as Watford boss before accepting it again exactly three years later with Fulham.
Danny Wilson, who chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, said “With two excellent away wins at well-fancied Cardiff and Derby, Veljko got off to the perfect start at the helm of the Royals to leave them neck and neck with Bristol City at the top of the table.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman, said “The Serbian has taken to the Sky Bet Championship like a duck to water in the opening month of the 2020-21 campaign. The Royals have been excellent so far, recording three straight victories in September and conceding just a single goal in the process. After a few disappointing seasons, Reading appear to have found a fresh identity under Paunović, and the fans will hope that the trend will continue.”
Congratulations Pauno! And congratulations to all who have helped him guide our first team to a superb start to 2020-21.