Former manager Veljko Paunovic opens up on Reading FC exit – Reading Today Online

Luton Town v Reading - Veljko Paunovic

FORMER READING FC manager Veljko Paunovic opened up on his exit from the club in 2021, speaking on The Coaches Voice.

The Serbian boss departed the Royals into his second season after a poor run of form, which was coupled with off the field issues.

Reading were deducted six points in November 2021 which was followed by damaging defeats in the FA Cup third-round to National League side Kidderminster Harriers and a 7-0 home loss to Fulham just days later.

With the team involved in a battle to try and stay in the Championship, Paunovic left the club in February following an away win at Preston North End.

Speaking about his first season at the club where the Royals finished in 7th after making a miraculous start to the campaign, Paunovic said: “I did (enjoy my time), especially in the first year With all the problems the club is facing now we experienced in our second season.

“The first season was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. We had a good team, good guys that were able to not only understand and apply what we were trying to do, but pushed hard for the club.

“Just at the end of the season we missed the play-offs, but it was a very good season with a lot of progress with young players and results.”

Paunovic admitted that he made mistakes in his second season with the club where he and his staff were faced with tackling the difficult restrictions of financial difficulties and opened up on his exit.

He continued: ”In the second season we lost a lot of top players to injury, like Lucas Joao, who scored 21 goals in the first season. We lost Meite in the off-season with an ACL injury and surgery. Another 15 goals.

“Because of the issues of the club with all the financial things we lost Michael Olise who went to Crystal Palace for an important amount of money that helped the club in that moment. We were unable to replace such a talent and that affected the results and overall situation.

“That was hugely disappointing for me. I made some decisions and some mistakes at that point. It took us in a situation that we were trying to fix and it wasn’t our fault or direct responsibility the situation we were put in.

“It went in the wrong direction and it looked like I was a problem in that moment and I’m very happy to speak openly about that.

“I went to the club and said, look, the fans are against (us), this is not helping the club and the best situation is for us to part ways because I want the best for the club. I love the club, I still follow the team.

“I told the owner and Dayong (Pang) that this is best for the club. So basically, I fired myself and I have no problem with that because wherever I work I want the best for the club, and if I have to leave, I will do that.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to talk about it so I think it’s important to give this information so that people know.”

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