Kenny Miller claimed Cardiff City can win the Championship, and his team-mates backed up his words with immediate actions in a first-half blitz to sink Reading and move closer to the top of the division.
The Royals arrived in south Wales having won their last four Championship matches, but the visitors were swept aside by three goals inside 36 glorious minutes for the Bluebirds, who now leap into third spot.
The Cardiff manager, Malky Mackay, said: "Some of the passing, movement and chances in the first half were sublime. I'm delighted with the way we played especially on the back of a tough game on Saturday. In fact, I thought we grew as the game went on. We want to be as high up the league as we can."
Joe Mason drilled a low right-footed shot past the Reading goalkeeper, Adam Federici, and into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
Cardiff doubled their advantage with a hotly-disputed second when Aron Gunnarsson headed Peter Whittingham's corner in from inches rather than yards. But Federici's appeals for a foul on his goal-line were waved away.
Yet things were still to get worse for the Reading keeper as Whittingham's excellent pass found Miller who toe-poked home from 10 yards.
Gunnarsson said: "It was comfortable, but we made one mistake and they were back in the game. We ground out the win in the second half and it's a good result for us with other teams losing. It's fantastic and we have to keep going. We need to keep believing in ourselves as it was a brilliant team performance. We want automatic promotion. We don't want to be in the play-offs."
Reading did grab a consolation on the stroke of half-time through the ex-Cardiff winger Jobi McAnuff. The Reading manager, Brian McDermott, said: "We didn't perform and that is the disappointing thing for me."
Cardiff City (4-5-1) - Marshall; Blake, Hudson, Turner (Gerrard, 87), Taylor; Cowie, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Mason (Gestede, 76), Ralls; Miller (McPhail, 87). Substitutes not used Heaton (gk), Conway.
Reading (4-4-2) - Federici; Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Karacan 7 (Robson-Kanu, 61), Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Church (Le Fondre, 61). Substitutes not used Andersen (gk), Tabb, Mills.
Referee C Foy (Merseyside).