Roberto Martinez sang the praises of his players and the Latics fans at the Madejski Stadium, after a wonderful performance and a clean sheet ensured the first victory of 2013.
Arouna Kone’s brace and Maynor Figueroa’s first Premier League goal since March 2011 sealed the win on the back of a confident and composed display in light of the enormity of the game.
Afterwards, Martinez highlighted the work done by his back line as well as the threat shown in the final third, saying:
“We knew this was going to be a difficult game when you look at Reading’s recent form, particularly at home.
“Defensively we had to be at our best and we were, but to then be ourselves in possession and create the chances we did made it a real complete performance.
“Scoring three goals away from home is never easy, but we did with it a style in our play that was as good as it gets and I’m extremely pleased to have seen such a performance at this time of the season.
“Overall, it was a fantastic team effort; when we got on the ball we found good positions around the pitch and looked very threatening when we went forward.
“The first goal was crucial and to get that from a corner situation was a bonus. The two that followed were of the highest order and as good as it gets from open play.
“Jean Beausejour’s vision and pass to Arouna Kone was superb, and the composed finish against one of the best goalkeepers in the league was very pleasing.
“The scoreline looks comfortable, but we needed that third goal because we’ve seen how Reading can come back from certain situations, and so we needed to make the game certain.
“Maynor has great awareness of his space and his combination play with Franco Di Santo in the build-up to the goal was one of the moves of the game.
“He managed to brush himself off after a very nasty challenge from Pavel Pogrebnyak shortly afterwards and was lucky not to have suffered a serious injury.
“I also have to pay credit to the fans who were magnificent, and to be honest continued the role they had at Huddersfield last weekend.
“To have them behind us is crucial and once more they’re going to be massive for us between now and the end of the season.”
Emmerson Boyce and Antolin Alcaraz returned to the team, with Boyce back in the starting line-up after suffering injury against Stoke City last month, and Alcaraz coming off the bench for his first appearance since September.
Martinez explained how their return will give the team’s bid for survival a massive boost:
“It was great to see them both on the pitch again and their experience is crucial when bringing more competition to the team at this stage of the season.
“Fortunately Boycey hasn’t been out for too long, but Antolin has been missing since September and that’s too long to be without a player of his quality.
“We’re looking forward now to having as many players available between now and the end of the season.”
Results elsewhere meant Latics move out of the relegation zone thanks to their goal difference, but Martinez was quick to stress that the job is far from done yet:
“It means nothing at this stage, what matters is the points tally and that we keep adding to it.
“The standards we showed this afternoon serve as a level we need to reach for the final eleven games of the season.”