Reading manager Veljko Paunovic paid tribute to matchwinner George Puscas after the Romania striker’s goal gave his side a 1-0 sky Bet Championship victory over Blackburn.
Puscas had almost opened the scoring with an audacious 50-yard attempt, which narrowly cleared the Rovers crossbar, but fared better when coolly guiding home in the 24th minute.
Although Blackburn controlled most of the play both before and after the break, they created few chances as the home defence held firm and comfortably secured the win.
Puscas made his first start since November, due to hernia problems, and scored his first goal since late October.
“George came back from his long injury and the surgery and he was not only good because of the goal,” Paunovic said.
“He also worked really hard and is now at the level when he can play 90 minutes.
“He gives us more options as well and allows us to be more creative with our ideas.
“I was also very happy with the generous and unselfish assist from Lucas Joao [from which Puscas scored].
“We won the ball with our high pressing and that’s what we needed. And that’s what we are going to need going forward.”
It was Reading’s second successive Championship victory, which keeps them well in the play-off hunt.
“I’m very happy with the result, especially at this point in the season,” Paunovic added.
“It was important that we didn’t get desperate, particularly in the second half when we didn’t have the ball possession that we wanted.
“In the end, though, it was a very mature performance from everyone.
“We had a lot of young players again but they have developed so well over the season and I’m so proud of them.”
Mid-table Blackburn have now lost six of their past seven matches but Tony Mowbray preferred to concentrate on the positive.
“There were quite a few positives which I was pleased with and which I told the group afterwards,” the Rovers manager said.
“With all the possession we had, though, we just weren’t creative enough.
“I didn’t think that Reading hurt us that much and it was a game that we were in charge of for much of it. We often controlled it.
“But with the final pass or the final ball in, it probably just wasn’t enough. We did have a few half-chances but that was about it.
“I can still take the positives from it, the lads kept working hard.
“I’d rather be playing like that and losing 1-0 than getting beat 3-0 every week – and we have got no idea of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to go.
“I think that we can be controlled and composed but we do have to find answers. The last 20 metres are hurting us.”