"It's been a short summer, but I think a lot of the players will say they have preferred that," Liam Moore began as he prepared to travel up to Pride Park for the first of 46 games in the 2020-21 Championship season this afternoon.
"For the first two or three weeks, you get your down time as players. But then it's difficult to keep fit training on your own. But this summer, after that period of down time, we were back in and it has probably worked out for the better.
"We've trained well, to a high standard and it's been competitive. And we've tried to take the new manager's ideas on board as fast as possioble.
Moore and his teammates first met Pauno in Portugal but they have been working intensely with the new Royals boss and his coaching team this week. There hasn't been much time, but the start of the season waits for no man. And the Royals are ready.
"We're going into a new season. You're like a kid again looking forward to the first day of the season. So much excitment, so many possibilities. And everybody starts on level points.
"The manager has come in and got his points across very well. There is no mistaking how he wants us to play.
"He has some non-negotiables and as players that's exactly how we'd want it. We know what is expected of us.
"He wants X, Y and Z from different players around the pitch. And if you do your job, it's as simple as that.
"It's a fresh start for everyone. I believe we've got a manager who is going to give every player a fair crack, based on training and performances in games.
"It's very early for the manager to know all the players inside out. But he'll pick a team he believes is capable of winning the game at Derby.
"It'll be a great challenge. Every time we have a game in this division, it's a challenge. But we'll be going there with a clear gameplan and hopefully it sees us through to get the three points."
And Moore is confident that more younger players as well as the established members of the squad will be pushing for opportunities in the first team this season.
"It has been another pre-season which has been a fantastic opportunity for the Academy.
"Young players have been around the first team on a daily basis and they should be looking at it and thinking, 'if I give everything I've got there will be opportunities there for me.'
"And it's the same with the senior players as well. Whatever is in the past has gone. There is no credit in the bank for any players. It's all about earning your place and then keeping it."