READING FC manager Jose Gomes believes his side won an important three points in their battle to avoid relegation from the Championship this season, writes Rob Stevens.

The Royals beat in form Preston North End 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday to climb two places to 19th position in the table.

Gomes explained the victory over the Lilywhites was deserved, but he has warned there is still a lot of hard work ahead for his team.

He told the Chronicle: “I’m happy with the players and for their efforts because they really followed the plan from the beginning.

“We were very solid defensively and attacked with a lot of danger. We could’ve scored another goal in the first half with a very good shot from Ovie.

“We changed things in the second-half to have a defensive line of five players. We gave Preston a lot of space in the middle of the pitch and they were using it to put long balls into our box.

“We then changed the midfield to a triangle and reduced the space a little bit, plus we created some dangerous counter-attacks.

“Some of our decision making wasn’t right at the end of the counter-attacks but we did well.

“We deserved the three points for the way we fought and worked.

“We can’t forget the number of points that we’ve already lost in the last five minutes of matches, so I decided to protect the team and keep the three points with us.

Gomes continued: “It was a very important three points for us against a team that hadn’t lost in their last 12 games and won their last six away matches.

“The results that Preston had in previous games talk for themselves, they’re a very tough and difficult team.

“My players did very well and deserved the three points, but we know there’s a long way in front of us during the seven games that we have until the end of the season.

"We know we must prepare very well for the next game and try to win it. We can't think for one second that we're already finished, breath and relax. It's a big and tough fight until the end of the season.

"We've been working on confidence since I arrived and the group spirit is very strong. There's a very good dynamic, relationship and strong energy between all the players.

"They're doing very difficult things during training but, when you have success doing those things, it gives you confidence."