Brentford head coach Dean Smith praised the goalscoring instincts of match-winner Lasse Vibe in the 1-0 Championship victory at struggling Reading.
After a scrappy and goalless first half, Brentford almost broke the deadlock early in the second period when Florian Jozefzoon’s shot was cleared off the line by Tyler Blackett.
Liam Kelly struck the crossbar for Reading with a well-flighted 20-yard free-kick but Brentford secured the win when Vibe crashed home from just inside the area in the 74th minute.
It was Vibe’s seventh goal of the season and leaves Brentford three points from the play-off places.
“Lasse had a really good pre-season but then got injured early on in the campaign,” Smith said.
“But he’s just starting to come back now and looking like the goal threat that he’s always been.
“He’s a clever player. He takes shots early, when goalkeepers and defenders don’t expect it, and he makes great runs as well. At times, he’s very selfless.
“It was always going to be a tough place to come here but I’m really pleased. We asked a lot of our front three, in particular, to press Reading a little bit higher.
“The demands on them physically were up there but they didn’t shirk it. And I thought that, on the balance of chances, we deserved to win.
“We missed a few really good chances and we were just hoping that one of them goes in eventually, which it did.
“I was pleased with all the lads working hard for each other and, defensively, we were very resilient today.”
Reading have now failed to win in eight league games and are just four points from the relegation zone.
“What went wrong?” manager Jaap Stam said. “You can see in the decision-making and the accuracy in passing, at times, was just not good enough.
“Sometimes, in winning the second ball and anticipating situations, we can do better.
“And when you get a moment when you can score, you need to take that opportunity and put it in the net.
“When it doesn’t happen, in the second half, they then come out and score. And then we have to get back into it.
“That, of course, is difficult. You try to but then they can come at you on the break.
“Yes, the gap to the relegation zone is reducing. Everyone knows that and it’s very frustrating.
“We know where we are and everyone else knows as well. Everyone needs to understand what we need to get out of it.
“But it’s not going to go by itself. We need to work very hard and give everything as a team and as individuals to get out of this.”