McDermott revels in two-goal hero Kebe's display as Reading beat Sunderland

The relegation-threatened side secured their third win in four games to climb out of the relegation zone, while Martin O'Neill was "delighted" with Danny Graham's debut

Reading manager Brian McDermott has heaped praise on Jimmy Kebe after the winger netted twice to secure a valuable 2-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

A left-footed strike inside the area, and a second-half header ensured the struggling side claimed three vital points in their battle against relegation.

And, although being known for his pace and dribbling skills, McDermott was quick to praise Kebe’s aerial ability, after the Reading wide man beat several Sunderland defenders to head home Ian Harte’s free kick for the 85th-minute winner.

“He wins headers, he’s good in the air,” McDermott told reporters after the game.

9/1 Reading are 9/1 to finish as the top Premier League newcomer with BetVictor

“It was a great finish today, Jimmy’s had to finish that off, and so late in the game, it’s difficult to come back from that.”

The Royals boss also insisted that confidence is high in the dressing room, with the atmosphere around the club positive, after their excellent recent form.

Reading have won three of their past four games, coming from behind to win all three, with another second-half comeback overturning a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Chelsea in midweek.

"It’s not just a happy place for 11 people, or 18 people are concerned, it’s a happy place for 30 people. All the staff, all the players - everybody," he added.

"Alfie [Adam Le Fondre] is the best example of that. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s a fantastic player, the biggest compliment I can give him  is that he’s a great team man, most important thing to him is that we win - and that’s genuine, and he came on and made a difference today."

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, dmitted he was “bitterly disappointed” to lose the game, believing his team to have been worthy of at least a point.

"To concede so late in the game, I'm just really disappointed," he told reporters.

"I felt we are in reasonable form, so we have come in with a bit of confidence.

"But that said they started better in the match and eventually - although they scored early - when we have got back in the game we looked reasonably strong and I thought we had enough chances in the game, before they scored, to change the outcome."

O’Neill was, however, pleased with the performance of debutant Danny Graham, and relieved that the home fans greeted his arrival with positivity after jeering the striker when a Swansea City player during midweek.

"I was delighted with him and delighted for him," he continued.

"He got an excellent reception from the away fans and made his mark on the game and got very close to what might have been the winning goal and I was delighted with him."