Reading cantered to a 4-0 victory over Sheffield United to extend their winning streak to four matches and strengthen their manager Brian McDermott's conviction that a good Cup run can help his team stay in the Premier League. Two goals from Noel Hunt and one apiece from Mikele Leigterwood and Garath McCleary ensured a comfortable home victory over the League One visitors. As Reading prepare for Wednesday's league game with Chelsea, McDermott reflected on how his club's positive momentum could enable them to pull clear of relegation.

McDermott said part of the reason for his team's good recent form was his club's willingness to give him time to adapt to the Premier League after promotion. That approach, he said, contrasts with the ruthlessness of Southampton, who sacked Nigel Adkins just as their results were improving. "I've learned a lot in a short space of time what is required in this league," said McDermott.

"We are entertaining but we are tougher to play against and that's what I've learnt the most. What I find fascinating about owners is that managers who lose games start to learn. Then they pick up a few points and they are sacked. It doesn't make any sense to me. For me you learn from experience.

"Look at Nigel, he struggled at the start. Then he loses two games in 12 and gets the sack. Listen, that's their business but …it doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I just find it incredible. What I thought was sad ... what Nigel Adkins has done for Southampton wasn't even mentioned in that programme at the Everton game. Let's have a bit of respect. That's not right and proper."