Sone Aluko says the Royals showed character in their second half showing against Derby, but need to translate that level of performance over the course of 90 minutes.
Aluko pulled a goal back for the Royals after excellent work from Ovie Ejaria to capitalise on a defensive error from the hosts - calmly slotting past Kelle Roos in the Derby goal.
But goals from Duane Holmes and a heavily-deflected strike from Harry Wilson had given Derby a two-goal advantage at Pride Park - a scoreline which Reading could not claw back in the latter stages, despite creating plenty of attacking opportunities.
"I'm disappointed because we started really poorly today, giving away an early goal against a team like this away from home and effectively giving them a two-goal headstart," Aluko said after the game.
"At half time we were disappointed, but in the second half we showed a bit of character, came back, we had chances.
"I scored a goal but, ultimately, we didn't win the three points which was the most important thing - we're disappointed we didn't get it.
"Fair play to Derby, they started well. They've got good players so we can't expect to give them that kind of start and expect to come back and get something from the game.
"We tried in the second half and it was unfortunate we didn't get something, at least a point."
Aluko was introduced as a substitute for the start of the second period at Pride Park, and he made an impact throughout in a free role in midfield to add further attacking impetus to try and recover the deficit.
"The manager told me to get on the ball, try to dictate the play and do the things we worked on in training - moving the ball from side to side, create chances, press high.
"We were pressing and Ovie Ejaria intercepted it, I made the run off the back of the defender and he played it through. The goalkeeper made up my mind for me by sprinting out and going to his right, and I put it off the post and in.
"We dominated the ball in the second half, pressed high and tried to win it back quickly.
"The second half was how we need to play for 90 minutes. You can't allow teams two minutes off, we need to get better at that."