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Mark Bowen On Leeds Defeat: A ‘Tough One To Take’

The manager took positives from Reading’s performance against high-flying Leeds despite the result.

Reading v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Reading deserved so much more from our game against Leeds United at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night, but were unlucky to not pick up any points. Leeds showed why they are where they are, scoring the winner late on to secure the three points and go top of the table. Reading remain in 18th and pick up their second defeat in three days.

Mark Bowen knows that we need to offer more in front of goal but felt the defeat was a tough one to take. He spoke to GetReading after the game.

Bowen on the defeat

“It was a tough one to take. We had a game plan and did a lot of preparation on Leeds. They’re a team who create a lot of chances and they had a fair bit of possession but I don’t think our goalkeeper had a shot to save.

“But we’re a bit bitter because we were looking to play a more counter-attacking game but in doing that we have to be better at retaining the ball and making more use of it going into the final third.

“I said at the start I’m putting demands on the players and I feel we should be higher up the league so I’ll continue to do that and work to improve them as well. When we go into those forward areas we have to be better as a group in retaining the ball a bit better and making sure we finish with more shots on goal in games.”

Bowen on the progression of the team since he took over

“I’ll have a go at them but at the same time I’ll pat them on the back. We have a team now which is competitive and we have to be a team which turns good performances into points on the board.

“We took a little bit of unfair criticism for Saturday’s game and although we lost I look at the physical stats and again tonight we smashed them in terms of physicality, sprints, high-speeds runs, etc. My team are giving everything they have got - we now need to turn this into shots and points on the board.”

Bowen on Chris Gunter’s performance

“Special mention for Chris Gunter. He’s had a difficult time but he showed the true pro that he is. To come into a difficult situation playing the league leaders at home - I thought he had a smashing game.”

Bowen on Joao and Baldock

“Joao will play a part for the under-23s in their game with Charlton on Thursday so we’ll see how he does. Baldock has had two scans which haven’t really shown anything but the problem is he’s an explosive player so we have to be wary with him.”

Bowen on Puscas’ dip in form

“George is working hard and like any striker you feel for him at times. There was a lot of pressure and expectancy put on him when he signed up but he’s still a young player and learning the game.

“He’s one we have to nurture and give belief too. I’m not saying he’s totally lacking in confidence but it will affect him because he is a young boy and he wants to do well.

“We have to make sure we do the right things with him, say the right things and like any striker he has it in his locker to go and score two or three on Saturday and then he’s off and running.”

Bowen on resting Puscas

“I don’t know. We have to look at things carefully in that respect. Every striker is pushing for a starting place. They are all waiting and chomping at the bit. The form of the team has turned round in recent weeks and I see a desire in the players’ eyes to produce and win games to climb the table.

“It’s been hard - losing 1-0 on Saturday and tonight so it’s a mental thing to lick our wounds and come back and make sure we’re at it at Wigan.”