Reading boss Paul Ince felt his side’s 1-0 win over Wigan proved their ability to bounce back from a disappointment.
The Royals arrived at the DW Stadium after a 3-0 draw at home by Sunderland, but a brilliant free-kick just after the hour mark by the manager’s son, Tom Ince, secured a return to winning ways in the Championship.
The winning margin could have been even more emphatic, with Ince sending a free header over the bar and Yakou Meite being denied by Ben Amos.
Wigan had chances to level but Will Keane headed into a post before Callum Lang ignited when net, leaving Ince senior a very satisfied man.
“It was the perfect answer,” he said. “Whatever the outcome of the game, whether we won, drew or lost, what I said to the players wouldn’t have mattered.
“I just wanted to see a rebound performance from the game against Sunderland, and that’s what we got.
“I told them midweek was over and the only game that mattered was the next one.
“We knew we were coming to a tough place in Wigan because we had to put on a performance. Whatever that performance brought, it didn’t matter. But as long as they were competing, that was it. what mattered – and we did.
“Looking at the game itself, we started off a little slow, but once we got our footing in the game, we played some great stuff.
“We deserved to be ahead, and the only disappointment for me was that we weren’t two or three goals ahead.
“If you don’t kill games at this level, you risk being punished. And as you saw in the final minutes, Langy should have scored, and Charlie Wyke also headed for the bar.
“If we had come in and not won it would have really hurt because we really deserved to win the game.
“Tom should have scored his header to make it 2-0, not the best header on the ball, but my daughter would have scored that!”
“Yak also has to score, and it’s over at 3-0.
“But as the game goes on we get deeper and deeper, Wigan likes to go long, go really fast, and they could easily have taken something.”
For Wigan boss Leam Richardson it was a disappointing way to sign for the international break.
“The game was there to be won, and I think we played with enough energy, momentum and precision in the first half,” he said.
“We had to bring the game to them and try to create those opportunities.
“We controlled possession and had enough shots but not enough on target.
“We didn’t really put enough pressure on them compared to what we normally do.
“We have to play at a certain level to be the best versions of ourselves and we just dipped a bit.
“As a team collectively we have to be better, sharper and more productive in what we do.
“We brought the game to them towards the end and we had enough entries in the final third – we hit the post and had a few chances.
“But it’s a tough league and we have to be there every time we take the field.
“We continue to learn and grow as a group, as a team.
“Today is not our best day but we will learn from it and educate ourselves quickly and improve.”