TIAGO Ilori hailed Reading FC's revamped defence after Royals kept their second clean sheet in the space of three games.

Reading held firm to keep Alex Neil's Preston North End at bay despite the Lillywhites' attacking dominance.

Second-half substitute Sean Maguire rattled the crossbar while Louis Moult was denied by the post in the opening 45 minutes.

But Reading kept their second clean sheet in a row at Madejski Stadium after their 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Good Friday.

And defender Ilori hailed Royals' resilience as they held on to another 1-0 win.

He said: "I think we're better organised defensively, and the manager has got some ideas across to us. It's early days, and there's still a lot that he's expecting us to improve on.

"But we're more secure, and we're not letting in silly goals. It's half the way to winning the battle.

" I think I feel more comfortable in the positioning, it's more along the lines of what I'm used to in the past.

"Playing out from the back, that's not something I've find that I'm too worried about. Obviously there are times when you do, but it's more the positioning - we know exactly what we want to. We're all aligned, and I think that's important."

Reading were under pressure to pick up a win after Barnsley beat Sheffield United 3-2, narrowing the gap between Royals and the Tykes to just two points.

And Ilori confessed: "It's inevitable that we see the results, but that's not what is driving us.

"We wanted to win the game whether they won or not, we don't want to leave it to chance, and we're in a better position and we can kick on from today.

"We want to get as many as we can, we don't want to leave things until the last few games, we know the situation we're in, that's why every game is important."

Now Reading turn their focus to Craven Cottage where they take on Fulham tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Royals' last visit to Craven Cottage ended in a 1-1 draw in the Championship play-off semi finals last season.

They were also on the end of a 5-0 hammering earlier in the same campaign.

But Ilori insisted Reading will go into the game with confidence.

He concluded: "We want to win the game, and get the three points as soon as possible.

"Fulham have been doing really well, but we're turning things around as well, we're improving."