Reading manager Jose Gomes praised the bravery of his players as they held on to gain a hard-earned 2-1 Championship victory over Brentford at the Madejski Stadium.
Two goals from leading marksman Yakou Meite, taking his tally to 12 for the season, gave the home side a decisive early advantage.
Brentford reduced the gap on the stroke of half-time thanks to Neal Maupay’s 26th goal of the campaign.
Reading missed a series of chances in the second half and had to rely on solid defence in the closing stages to hold on for the vital win.
Gomes’ side now lie four points clear of the relegation zone and he said: “It was a very important three points for us.
“I think we could’ve finished the game in the first half, the way that my players used their speed in behind the Brentford defensive line.
“We missed some [goalscoring] situations but we deserved these three points, even at the end of the game, when everyone was a bit nervous with all the Brentford corners and free-kicks.
“But that’s the Championship and, in those moments, we must protect ourselves and defend properly. My players were really brave to do it.
“At the end of the first half, we didn’t defend so well. It looked like the players felt like it would be an easy game.
“But in the Championship, we don’t have easy games.
“We were more organised in the second half, even with Brentford putting in long balls and corners.
“But I was confident that we could stop these kind of actions. In our challenges, we were stronger than them.”
Gomes believes that Reading still have a battle to survive.
“No, we are not safe yet,” the Portuguese added. “It’s the moment that we must increase our focus and collect more energy from everybody.
“A lot of things can still happen. We cannot relax even for one second.
“You cannot feel completely in control of any match in the Championship, from the start to the end.
“I’ve never felt this. I don’t know if’s it’s possible. We must keep our focus and prepare for the next game.”
Brentford have now won just one of their last seven games but head coach Thomas Frank said: “The positives are that we were better in the second half.
“We had more intensity, we forced Reading back and also created more opportunities for ourselves.
“We showed great willpower to do everything that we could to get back into the game. But on the day we lacked the quality to create enough clear-cut chances.
“But we were winning more duels and were playing more in behind and around Reading in the second half. That was the most positive thing.
“We now have four games left and we need to do everything we can to get 12 points. That’s the aim.
“We talked before this game that we need to finish the season on a high.
“We have to do everything we can and that will mean a lot for this club, this team and every individual. There is no reason not to do that.
“It might help if we stopped conceding goals in the first five minutes and something about our away form is not the best.
“We came back into it, after going two goals down, but we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. That was very difficult.”
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