New Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce praised the club’s vast army of travelling fans after a late penalty from Jordan Ayew secured a 2-1 win at Reading.
More than 4,000 supporters made the trip to Berkshire and were rewarded with Villa’s first away win in 14 months.
It was also their first win in 11 Sky Bet Championship matches and Bruce’s first victory, in his second game, since he succeeded Roberto Di Matteo.
“You have to make a special mention of the supporters,” Bruce said. “They’ve travelled down here in their thousands, they’ve got behind their team in the last 10 minutes and breathed life into the lads.
“The players have had a tough time so you’ve just got to try to restore a little bit of belief. We haven’t done a lot but we’ll get stuck into them over the next few weeks and months.
“I’ve got to try to get a bit of belief back into the whole club. They’ve had it tough but it shows you the magnitude of the club when they bring 4,000 fans to Reading on a Tuesday night.
“That’s quite remarkable. Not many clubs can do that.
“I’ve been given the privilege to manage this club and I’ll be doing my best to turn around this big juggernaut and breathe a bit of belief back into it. A few good results will do that.”
Villa were without midfielder Jack Grealish, who was retrospectively given a three-match ban by the FA for stamping on Conor Coady in the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
“I thought Jack was a bit unfortunate, I didn’t think it was that bad,” Bruce said. “Then again, others have seen it in a different way.”
Villa went ahead in the 38th minute, when Jonathan Kodjia’s shot appeared to deflect into the net off home defender Tyler Blackett.
Reading improved after the break and drew level in the 54th minute.
Aly Cissokho dragged down Garath McCleary in the area and, after Danny Williams’ penalty had been saved by Pierluigi Gollini, Yann Kermorgant reacted quickly to nod in the rebound.
The game opened up towards the end and Ayew, a substitute, calmly slotted in the 90th-minute spot kick after he had been fouled by Liam Moore.
Reading’s defeat was their first in nine home matches this season.
“Which team tried to play football?” Reading manager Jaap Stam said. “Only one team was trying to play football and that was us.
“Villa were just sitting in front of their box and just waiting for the moment to get out. That can make it difficult for you.
“We didn’t create many chances in the first half but that was because Villa were just sitting and waiting. They were just waiting for us to lose the ball and then counter-attack. You need to be patient in how you play.
“In the second half, when they pressed us higher up the pitch, the spaces started to open up. You could pass the ball through into the pockets and make some good runs.
“It is frustrating to lose but maybe we should be more decisive defensively.”