PAUL Clement believes Reading FC have broken their losing habit after victory in his first match in charge.

Royals were forced to defend for the lives to earn a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers in today’s evening kick off.

It was Reading’s first win in 10 Championship matches and first clean sheet in 13 after Vito Mannone saved Jake Bidwell’s injury-time penalty to secure all three points.

Reading, who saw substitute Yann Kermorgant sent off 10 minutes before the end, managed to hang on to a 13th minute lead which came from a stunning Sone Aluko strike.

And a relieved Clement said: “I’m most pleased for the players and the fans who showed up in their numbers on a miserable evening weather-wise which can often keep people away.

“But they got behind the team and there was a lot of noise at the end when the penalty was saved.

“Obviously I’m very pleased for the players. They’ve had a difficult time this year. I know what it’s like to be involved with a team when you aren’t getting results.

“Confidence goes and it can be a vicious cycle, but hopefully we’ve broken that cycle now.

“We dug in and it was a scrappy performance at times but it was also full of passion and fight and we got over the line in the end.”

Clement’s men flew out of the traps and deservedly led through Aluko’s 25 yard screamer.

But QPR grew more and more into the game and threw the kitchen sink at the nervy hosts.

They had a Luke Freeman goal disallowed just before the break and went close to equalising on a number of occasions.

But Ian Holloway’s visitors failed to convert an injury-time penalty when Mannone saved Bidwell’s effort after Dave Edwards had tripped Pawel Wszolek.

Reading Chronicle:

Vito Mannone is robbed by his Reading team-mates after saving an injury-time penalty.

Clement insisted his team’s resolute defending was no fluke either.

“I thought our goal was worthy of being a matchwinner in itself, it was a big moment,” he explained.

“Then obviously the penalty save at the end was another big moment.

“I was actually disappointed it had got to that point. Not because of how the game went but more the nature of how the penalty came about.

“Mo Barrow went in for a challenge with their centre-half and I thought it was a foul on Mo, but the referee gave it the other way.

“Then our player was down injured and I think the referee guessed whether he’s hurt which he could easily have been which should have stopped the game, but he didn’t.

“We’d also had a man sent off at that stage so were defending with nine men, then Sod’s Law it’s a penalty kick and they get a massive chance at the end.

“But it was a brilliant save and we got the three points we needed and everyone wanted.”

He added: “The amount of blocks and tackles we put in was unbelievable, and that comes from players being the right positions, being compact, being narrow and being solid.

“It certainly wasn’t a perfect defensive display, but it’s been a while since the team has kept a clean sheet, so it’s all good.

“I would certainly have taken 1-0 before the game, no doubt.”

The win saw Reading move up to 19th in the table and increase their lead over the relegation zone from three points to six ahead of a tough trip to promotion-chasing Aston Villa on Tuesday night (7.45pm ko).

Clement stated: “Being an evening kick off, we knew what had happened in the other games and we used it for some motivation.

“Football sometimes gives you these days when you can have a momentum shift.

“Barnsley conceded late, Burton lost and Bolton lost so we couldn’t have asked for much better. It was about taking advantage of that and we did.

“Tuesday is massive now. We have seven games and 21 points to play for. The gap between us and bottom three is there, but things can change quickly.

“Villa will be tough opponents and pushing for the top of the table. But QPR went there recently and won 3-1 so why can’t we go there and get a good result?”