New Reading manager Mark Bowen praised the character of defender Jordan Obita following the 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory at home to Millwall.
Obita superbly drilled home the Royals' opener in the ninth minute – his first goal for 30 months.
Striker Sam Baldock doubled Reading's lead with another clean strike eight minutes before the break.
Although Millwall reduced the gap through Jed Wallace's 63rd-minute solo effort, their late rally failed to produce an equaliser.
Obita only recently returned after almost two years out with knee problems.
"It was a fabulous strike from Jordan," Bowen said. "I'm absolutely delighted for him.
"He's had an horrific couple of years with injuries.
"A lot of lonely days on the training ground and on his own in the gym, getting himself back to fitness.
"But it's moments like that – and times like that after the game – when I look at him and think 'What a hell of a lot of character he's got'."
Reading have now taken seven points out of nine under Bowen.
"That was a battle at the end," the Welshman said. "When Liam Moore went off (through injury), we lost our leader and we had to regroup a bit.
"Millwall came into the ascendancy straight after that and, from our point of view, it became very scrappy.
"In the first hour, maybe a little bit more, I thought that we dominated the game and the possession.
"But from feeling fairly comfortable, you're expecting a bombshell to go off – and obviously that happened with their goal.
"Apart from me nearly having a heart attack it was really pleasing to see we had come through a period of the game where maybe before we would have gone under.
"But we didn't. We showed a lot of character and resilience to get the job done and the three points. That should stand us in good stead."
New Millwall boss Gary Rowett suffered his first defeat in his second game in charge.
"I felt the response in the second half, to pin Reading in and put them under pressure, was pleasing," Rowett said. "Maybe we deserved an equaliser.
"But on balance, as pleasing as the reaction was second half, I was probably as equally disappointed with the first half.
"I thought that, then, we were passive and stood off them a little bit. We were second best all over the park really.
"Both their goals were fantastic finishes but they were still disappointing to concede. It was very poor from us.
"We had some moments in the first half when we passed the ball well. At times, though, we overplayed a bit.
"We didn't play forward with enough aggression and enough quality.
"Our reaction was good after the interval, I'd just like us to play with that mentality right from the start.
"We ended up with three strikers on the pitch at the end and we've tried to do what we had to do to get back into the game.
"But because of those two poor-quality goals in the first half, it just gave us too much to do.
"That bit of individual brilliance from Jed (Wallace) could have changed the game.
"But we couldn't quite manage to get that knockdown or ball into the box that you're hoping for late on."