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Veljko Paunovic praises Yael Padilla: “We have a diamond in the rough”

The 17-year-old sensation scored again against Atlético de San Luis and received warm words from the Chivas head coach.

Paunovic hails "diamond in the rough” Padilla

The emergence of Yael Padilla in the Liga MX has surprised many, but not Chivas Guadalajara head coach Veljko Paunovic.

Three months ago the young forward was called up from Chivas’ Under-18 team to join the first team. Earlier this month he made his debut as a substitute against León, on the opening day of the Liga MX Apertura. Within seven minutes of his debut, Padilla scored his first professional goal.

For Saturday’s Liga MX fixture against Atlético de San Luis he was named in the starting XI for the very first time and was back on the scoresheet. That made it two goals in two games for the young sensation, who is still only 17 years old.

Speaking after Chivas’ 3-1 win, Paunovic insisted that Padilla’s incredible start to life in the first team has not surprised him.

“He has been working with us for some time and he showed us that he has a high level and tremendous self-confidence, a fantastic talent,” Paunovic said.

“I like working with young players... More than advising the player on how to play, what I want is for him to prove himself to the locker room, to win over the veterans, the captains, and his peers as well. If he does this, there is tremendous potential.”

The Chivas boss continued: “Circumstances have favoured him, but he was ready. I said it the other day, we don’t look at the player’s reputation, we look at what performance it gives us. Today there were two situations [in the game] where it looked like he had played played 200 games because he has the composure.”

“He always knows what he wants to do, where is teammates are located and he has an incredible ability to escape the press,” he added.

Padilla is a “rough diamond” to be polished

Given his youth, Padilla is still a long way from being the finished product. But Paunovic is in no doubts about the 17-year-old’s talent and is dedicated to guiding Padilla through his early career.

“We have an incredible rough diamond that we need to polish. The main thing is to surround him with people who care and not let him lose his humility. I have no doubt that in his family environment they will help to ensure that this does not happen

“It is essential that this year and the next are of humility, a desire to learn, to watch videos and find how he can project himself... There is tremendous potential,” said Paunovic.

“Responsibility must be shared. Between those of us who are part of his environment; with his family and friends; and with his own commitment.”

“He knows how to accept the advice that we are going to give him. We won’t detract from him; he must know that he is doing well, that must be reinforced. We are going to give him a push, we are going to support him, but he must know that at some point his role may change. It only depends on him,” the Chivas coach added.