Veljko Paunović set to become new Tigres manager

Former Chivas manager Paunović in advanced talks to take over Monterrey club
Leagues Cup 2023: Chivas v FC Cincinnati
Leagues Cup 2023: Chivas v FC Cincinnati / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

Ending a one-year reign as Tigres manager, Robert Siboldi did not have his contract extended following the club's exit from the 2024 Clausura playoffs to city rivals Monterrey.

The Uruguayan masterminded Tigres' 2023 Clausura title, beating Chivas 3-2 in the final, bringing a first title in four years to UNAL.

However, a new page has been turned and the search for a replacement at the helm is reportedly soon over. AS Mexico broke the news that the club would be willing to replace Siboldi with the man who he beat in that Clausura final, Veljko Paunović.

The Serbian started his managerial career in Chicago with the Fire in 2016. After a dismal 20th place finish in his first season with the club, Paunović helped the club remarkably rise to 3rd in the following campaign, before two disappointing seasons in 2018 and '19 where the club once again fell to the foot of the table.

The results of two underwhelming seasons saw the former Atlético Madrid central midfielder sacked. Searching for a new opportunity, the Serbian took over in the English second division with Reading in 2020. Managing a financially struck Reading side, Paunović guided the club to a 7th placed finish, just one spot off the playoffs.

In his second season with the Royals, Paunović struggled as the club won just 9 of 32 games resulting in his sacking for the second time in three years. A year later Paunović switched the suburbs of London for Guadalajara by joining one of the biggest and most successful clubs in Mexico.

Joining the club for the 2023 Apertura, Chivas reached the quarter finals of the competition. Building a formidable side, he guided the club to the 2023 Clausura final, only to fall short in extra time to Tigres, where he is soon to be announced as the next manager.

Style of Play

Reviewing a blog called Riverside Observer Blog; a Middlesbrough FC page which reviews opposition before matches, a piece was written to review the Serbian's style.

The article highlights Paunović's desire to play direct, attacking football. Often opting for a central focus to direct long balls towards the target man striker. The same style could soon be utilised for balls into André-Pierre Gignac. The French international is known for being able to hold the ball well, using his body to stop defenders from intercepting, Paunović encourages his players to flood the central areas to provide options for the striker to continue the attack.

The Serbian often chose a 4-1-4-1, a rather defensive-looking style, but it allows the wingers and central midfielders to express themselves by filling the gaps between themselves and the striker. At times, and during his time at Chivas, Paunović used a 4-2-3-1 formation, which connected the attackers and midfielders much better to allow for more fluid attacks.

The problem shown for Paunović has been that his team are often defensively weak. At every club he has managed, they have conceded more goals that what they have scored. However, Chivas is the only club that has scored more goals than leaked during his tenure.

His winning percentages make for promising reading for Tigres fans. Rising from 39% with Chicago, 42% in the Championship and 53% in Guadalajara, steady improvements are being made to suggest that Tigres could challenge for the upcoming 2024 Apertura season.