HIS sumptuous free kick sealed a place in the Carabao Cup second round.

But Reading FC ace John Swift was eager to deflect praise onto the defence for keeping their first clean sheet of the season.

Swift's pinpoint free-kick that flew past keeper Lee Camp put Royals 2-0 up against Birmingham City and on course for a first win of the campaign for Paul Clement's men.

But the former Chelsea midfielder believes a shut-out against Garry Monk’s Blues was the biggest highlight of Tuesday night's first-round clash.

“It was a massive to get that first win,” said Swift. “Going 1-0 up and not conceding was most pleasing for me.

"We were under pressure at the start of the season half so that second goal gave us a cushion.

“It was good to see the defenders keep a clean sheet and see the game out.

“We had good possession, but we were also a bit lazy on the ball at times and the final pass wasn’t there.

“I felt we could have been at least 2-0 up at half time, but I’m just glad we came away with the win because we needed it to give us confidence for the next league game.

“Now we need to push on against Bolton this Saturday and get our first three points in the league, they are massively needed.”

Reading Chronicle:

Reading midfielder John Swift scores against Birmingham City. Pictures: Jason Dawson.

Reading are bottom of the Championship table after two straight defeats to Derby County and Nottingham Forest, though Swift argues they deserved more for their efforts.

“It’s still early in the season and everyone is still confident,” he stated.

“I think we’re playing good football, we’re compact defensively and we’ve been strong. That’s why not conceding a goal against Birmingham was huge for us.

“We’ll be confident on Saturday and hopefully the tactics will be right and players will perform.

“We played well in the last two league games and I thought we were unlucky to come away with nothing.

“So we really do need the three points this weekend.”

Clement made five changes for the Carabao Cup clash on Tuesday and could now face a selection headache for the league fixture against Bolton this weekend.

“I think there will be (selection) issues every week,” added Swift. “There are good players in the squad who want to start and good players on the bench. It’s up to the manager to pick the team, but the players will make sure they are ready.”

However, Clement is sweating on a number of injury concerns after goalscorer Yakou Meite (ribs) and Mo Barrow (thigh) limped out of Tuesday night’s cup win.

Sone Aluko (thigh) has already been ruled out of Saturday’s clash against Bolton.