The Royals travelled to Wigan Athletic on the back of two losses, and it looked like we were on course for our third straight defeat, but an exceptional turnaround meant we took all three points back to Berkshire. George Puscas, you better believe he scores goals! His five-minute hat-trick will hopefully see a turnaround in his form and continue how well the Royals have played recently.
Wigan took the lead in the first half through Joe Garner and it looked like they were going to take the points but Puscas stepped up and converted a penalty in the 79th minute and, by the 84th minute, we were 3-1 up.
Bowen on Puscas
“I’m delighted for him. As soon as we got the penalty, some of my staff were wondering if somebody else should take it – it had to be George for me. Hopefully it will be the turning point in the season for him. He had a chance to step up and put it away, and I knew he would grow from that. In that last 15 minutes, he showed everyone the qualities he has got.
“And he has got those qualities. It has been difficult for him, and I know that the fans have been a little bit impatient with him. But we have to give him the quality – if he gets that, and he gets that confidence in him, he will score goals.
“He is a young kid that has come to out club with a lot of expectation. We need to keep getting him that bit of quality – but he always hustles and bustles and tries to do it himself. So, again, I’m delighted for him. I know that we have a striker there who can score goals for us.
“And the pleasing thing for me was that as soon as he walked into that dressing room, the place exploded. All of the players were cheering for him and clapping and patting him on the back. You could see the beaming smile, which comes from results and well as goals.”
Bowen on the game
“I was really angry and frustrated at half time because we had ample opportunity to dominate the game. Our first touch was poor, our passing was sloppy and our creativeness wasn’t there. Maybe it was a result of playing Leeds and Brentford.
“The first half we forgot how to play and I thought about going to 4-4-2 at half time to get a few more bodies in better areas around our strikers. But we decided to stick with it for 10 or 15 minutes and it was always in my mind to go 4-4-2. With Joao coming on and Adam with his passing ability - it was about getting bodies in and around Puscas and taking the game to them.
“It worked but it only works if the players put in the effort and football knowledge and endeavour.”
Bowen on Ejaria and Swift
“It was a blow not having them and maybe that was one of the reasons why we weren’t too clever on the ball. It was a massive blow not having our two ‘ball’ players. Ejaria had a stomach bag overnight and felt as weak as anything this morning.
“He travelled up with us but we had to send him back down. Swift is out for another three or four weeks.”
Bowen on Obita
“He was here at the game, he’s back and he has had four training sessions. He thinks he is ready. I want him to have a full week’s training first and then he’ll be in contention for next Saturday.”
Bowen on this being the start of a good run
“I hope so. I make no apologies for saying, I’ve said to the guys they’re all hard but I make us favourites in every one of our next five games. I might be at fault for this! If I’m making us favourites, I’m putting pressure on the lads to expect them to win them all.”