JOSE Gomes praised the efforts of the younger Reading FC players in his injury-hit squad following a comprehensive defeat against Leeds United on Tuesday night.

Ryan East started alongside Danny Loader, becoming the 50th Academy graduate, while Michael Olise was introduced in the second half.

Leeds put three past Reading in the opening 45 minutes and there was no way back, as the visitors ascended to the top of the Championship.

A double for Pablo Hernandez, including a wonder strike from 25 yards, and a slick finish from Mateusz Klich made it a straightforward victory for Leeds.

Gomes admitted his players needed to be better when it came to the final ball, but was pleased to see his younger players getting game time against one of the best teams in the division.

Here is what he had to say after the 3-0 defeat against Leeds:

"First of all, it was a very good game. We played against a very strong team. Maybe one of the strongest, offensive and dynamic in this league. Very very good movements with intensity and very fast movements between all the players from the midfielder and to the wingers.

"The result does not show the performance. We are not happy with the result, but we have a lot of positive things. My players did a lot of positive things that we must catch for the future. And also the way that the young players that played today. They didn’t show any kind of afraid. It was another positive thing.

"We didn’t get any points from this game, we conceded three goals, but we have a lot of positives and very good football moments.

"Like I said, on Saturday we couldn’t celebrate and now we cannot cry. We must prepare for that upcoming match on Saturday against Stoke.

"You need points to move as soon as possible from this position. If we win we get three points so we must fight in the upcoming game. We started very well and in the moment we conceded the first goal, we didn’t deserve it, because we were a bit better in that moment.

"After four shots they scored three goals. The third goal was no space at all, just a small touch. It was a fantastic goal. The quality they have in their players is difficult to stop. They are dynamic and offensive. We tried to stop it, but when we are in the good moment, good things happen, and they are in a good moment.

"We cannot find one reason for the result. The way that they scored the goals was for different reasons and different actions. I thought that if we scored one goal we could give another energy to the game. The players did well, much better in the second half.

"We tried a lot. The ball moved a lot of times near the Leeds goal. Sometimes the direction of the last pass was not in the right way. We created a lot of good situations and we missed the last pass. With good passes in these actions, we could get some goals, but we didn’t.

"We are in the bottom of the table. We have now one game less and we must prepare and give again the confidence to the players and the motivation to be ready the next game.

"[Red card for Ayling] I think yes. It is my opinion. I think the referee forgave the past. In my opinion it was a second yellow card. Of course the game could be different. But the truth is they scored three goals in the first half, so we cannot complain about the referee.

"He [East] showed he was comfortable in the game. He did very good passes. He recovered a lot of balls. Good passes, good actions. In the second half Danny passed and could have put him in front of the goalkeeper, but he was a bit late. So he did well, like Michael. They have more to show. I am happy for what they did.

"No pressure at all. They must enjoy the game and we cannot put the responsibility of the position that we have in the table on their shoulders. They arrive without any kind of pressures. If we need them, they are working well and they deserve to play. I told you this in the beginning when I arrived. I don’t care about the age or the CV. If they are doing what I want they can play.

"Today he [Ejaria] was better but not better enough to play. Maybe we can use him on Saturday.

"He [Moore] is not completely free of pain, but he is brave and he showed again that he was brave.

"We will fight like all the games. We start to win the game. It is difficult for me to start a game, thinking that a draw is enough. Maybe I am being a bit stupid, but I cannot damage the football. We must try to win the game.

"The result is one thing and the performance is a different thing. The quality players that they have. They move the ball and they scored a great goal. Today, Reading performed well against one of the strongest teams in the league.

"I must work inside me to bring him [Kelly] again to the team. I didn’t like what happened at Sheffield United. I have shielded him sometimes and sometimes we must punish them."