Reading FC manager Jose Gomes felt the sending off of John Swift was unfair - and made a huge difference to the end result as the Royals lost 4-1 to Fulham at a soaked Madejski Stadium on Tuesday, writes Nicholas Tunney.

Fulham went into an early lead through Tom Cairney's wonderful finish after a promising start by the Royals before Swift was sent for an early bath after two bookings.

The visitors then laid siege to the Reading goal and Aleksandar Mitrovic struck a brace before the break to put Fulham 3-0 up.

Reading showed some real fight in the second half before Cairney scored again with a sublime finish after a defensive mix-up.

Yakou Meite scored a brilliant goal with minutes to spare, rifling past Marcus Bettinelli from 25 yards but it was too little, too late.

Gomes said: "John is one of the best players in the Championship.

"He is not an aggressive player and in both situations, he tried to play the ball. The first situation was near the benches and it looked more serious than it really was.

"The second yellow he slipped. The pitch was full of water. I don't think it was fair.

"I think the first card shouldn't exist but it is not fair for Swift. He is a player that respects the opponent and he likes to play football."

Gomes admitted that his side came up against a very strong team but was pleased with the character his team showed in the second half.

He added: "We faced a very strong team with Premier League players.

"We knew how difficult it was going to be but we prepared very well and we started the game with the best chance.

"We then conceded after one mistake. After we had one player less, the problem was even bigger because they have quality.

"Even with 11, it is difficult to stop them. In the first half, we should have been more aggressive with our pressing and I didn't like that but the second half was different.

"It was much better and we showed very good spirit."

After the game, Gomes called his players and staff in for a huddle with the Portuguese looking very animated.

He commented: "I wanted to get the message across straight away with the emotion. Everyone was unhappy and in that moment, the idea was to touch on the positives and tell them exactly what I was feeling in that moment."