The Royals travelled to Griffin Park for their final league game at the ground before Brentford move next year - unfortunately it didn’t end with a victory. Mark Bowen felt that Reading lacked quality in the final third with the Royals losing 1-0 in his first defeat as Reading manager.
Bowen on fine margins
“In this league, it is fine margins that make the difference, For our game plan, we wanted a bit of aggression and desire in our play. We had that and I am delighted with side.
“But it is fine margins. We maybe didn’t have that little bit of guile and quality in the final third at the right time. I am disappointed for the lads because the game-plan was there. We knew that we had to stay in the game, and a little bit of a lack of concentration cost us at least a point.”
Bowen on the performance
“We switched off a bit for their goal. We knew that it would be a tight game and that one goal might swing it. We had ample opportunities going into the final third with the ball. It was one of those days where, with the quality we have in our side, we were searching for that little something different to create a goal.
“We had a great opportunity in the first half with George Pușcaș which we would expect him to put away – and he knows that. Strikers live and die by their goals – but I am happy with the work that he put in for the team.
“In the second half, there weren’t many clear-cut opportunities. From where I’m stood on the sidelines, when we are getting into the final third and I’m expecting things to happen, that pass wasn’t quite there or the control wasn’t quite there. But it has been there, and it will be again.”
Bowen on Puscas’ missed chance
“It was disappointing for him - strikers live and die by their goals but I was happy with the work he put in for the team. We had a knock back at half time with Sam Baldock feeling his hamstring which is why we made the change.
“Swift was also feeling his groin before the start of the game so I’m glad he got through the game. It’s disappointing for the lads because the game plan was there, we knew we had to stay in the game and a lapse in concentration cost us.”
Bowen on Yiadom’s upcoming suspension
“He has been terrific for us. He travelled a lot over the international break and he had a problem with his wrist so he had a lot of baggage going into the game. He’s the type of player who gives you 100 per cent every game.”
Bowen on Gunter replacing him
“He might be the obvious choice but we’ll have a look over the next few days. We have Teddy Howe as well so it’s a good chance for those guys to try and stay in the team.”
Bowen on the timing of the international break
“People will say it disrupted our momentum. It happens - we were confident going into the game and got to half time with a real confidence in the dressing room. It was a shame because we are better than what we showed. We’re better than that.”
Bowen on more impact from the subs
“Maybe - it was a difficult game to come in to. It was like a basketball game and sometimes when it is such a high tempo it’s difficult. At times in our enthusiasm meant we lost sight. We dropped Swift back as a defensive midfielder. The guys who come on have to be more in tune in their concentration levels and with the pace of the game and get into it a bit quicker.
“It happens and if it happens a lot it’s something to gripe about. In the past I’ve brought players on and they’ve got into the game quickly and this was just one of those games where fine margins mattered.”
Bowen on bouncing back
“We have to - we always knew the unbeaten run would come to an end. We have to learn from it and be prepared for Tuesday.”
Bowen on the fans
“I feel like I repeat myself every week – I have come to expect it from our fans. They come and get behind us all the way. At times it was like a home game all the way, because they didn’t stop singing and encouraging our players.
“I’d like to think that while we are all disappointed as they leave the stadium tonight, they will be able to look at the effort and desire that the players are putting in and know that we’ll be more than alright this season.”