READING manager Brian McDermott picked out goalkeeper Adam Federici as the Royals' match-winner in their triumph at Derby.
McDermott's side ended a run of five consecutive draws in the Championship as Shane Long grabbed a late winner.
Long opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before half-time and Kris Commons brought Derby level after they had spurned a host of chances.
Despite Long's brace, McDermott insisted Reading were indebted to Federici for keeping the Rams at bay.
He said: "I thought first half we were on top of the game but second half Derby came out really strong and our 'keeper had to make a couple of good saves.
"They scored a good goal and it could have gone either way but, fortunately for us, Shane Long has got a great header and we won the game.
"In the last five games, even though we had drawn all five we felt we should have won them all, against top sides as well. But we are in the results business so (on Saturday) we have got the result. I thought we were good value for it and there was a good spirit among the players which we have had all along. We have not deviated away from what we are trying to do and we have younger players coming through so we are competitive in this league.
"We have got the three points which has moved us up a few notches. There could have been more goals, they hit the bar, we hit the bar, so it could have been three or four each, but I'm happy with 2-1.
"Our 'keeper was first class. His kicking was good and his organisation was good. He's made saves that basically have won us the game. That's what you want from your 'keeper, making saves that make a difference and he's done that."
Derby have now lost four consecutive matches and manager Nigel Clough was left frustrated by wasteful finishing.
He said: "We had enough chances to win three games. In the last two home games we've had chance after chance and we don't put them away and we get punished. That's the way it seems to be going at the moment but in terms of general performance we are very pleased, especially in the second half when we were very good indeed.
"The conditions were a bit tricky and I didn't think we got to grips with it first half, but second half we weren't just creating chances through flukes or mistakes, some of the play was lovely.
"Their 'keeper made three or four very good saves but we do feel that, the positions we were getting into, he maybe should not have had the chance to make those saves.
"We don't feel we are doing too much different to when we were winning six on the spin. We are certainly not going to change the way we are trying to play."