Reading manager Jose Gomes praised the bravery of Nelson Oliveira after the Portuguese striker marked his return from serious facial injuries by scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory at home to Blackburn.
Having been totally outplayed for long spells in the opening period, Reading went ahead in first-half stoppage time from John Swift’s close-range effort.
Blackburn equalised in the 82nd minute through an angled drive from Amari’i Bell but Oliveira pounced four minutes later to earn the Royals only their second win in 16 Sky Bet Championship games and moved them out of the relegation zone.
Oliveira was forced to wear a protective mask after breaking his nose in four places, and sustaining other deep wounds to his face, in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa on February 2.
“Nelson showed great courage,” Gomes said.
“He asked to play in the previous match (against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday) but the doctor didn’t give him permission.
“He couldn’t be on the pitch after this difficult operation on his nose.
“But he insisted to play in this game. In the time he was on the pitch, you could see that he was pushing the other guys.
“He was giving strong motivation to them, which was also important.
“I’m happy for the three points and the position that we are now in in the table.
“But we know that it is just one step and there is a long way in front of us.
“It’s one very important step and we have a lot more of them until the end of the season.
“I’m happy but I have my feet on the ground. I’m not dreaming.
“The team spirit was very strong in the first half. We were sloppy, we played badly, but the spirit was still good.”
Mid-table Blackburn suffered their third successive defeat.
Manager Tony Mowbray said: “We have to take the positives from the game.
“I thought that we controlled the vast majority of it and yet you’d have to say that we lacked the killer touch in the last 20 yards of the pitch.
“The final ball, that little cut back, picking somebody out. We just had to be more clinical.
“And, really, we can’t concede the goals that we did.
“When we equalised, there was only one team that could potentially go on and win. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.
“I’d like to be gracious and say ‘well done’ to Reading. Credit to them.
“My frustration with my team is that we can’t be a soft touch.
“We’ve got a fantastic work ethic and an amazing spirit but you can’t lose those type of games.
“I was happy with the majority of our play but, these days, you have to be results orientated.”
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