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Mark Bowen Criticises ‘Lethargic’ Reading After Bristol City Defeat

The manager’s take on Reading’s first home defeat of 2020.

Nottingham Forest v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - City Ground Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

Bristol City took all three points at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening with the Royals now in 15th place. Jamie Paterson scored in the 62nd minute with the Royals putting in a poor display, until the final 10 minutes when we pushed for an equaliser, but City held on for the points.

With the transfer window closing on Friday, Mark Bowen will be looking to secure some last minute signings to strengthen the squad. He spoke to GetReading after the game.

Bowen on the defeat

“It was disappointing - it was a close game and I always thought one goal was going to decide it. I’ve been banging the drum for the past two months about getting the other side of the game right - we didn’t get that right tonight. We were lethargic and slow in starting the game and the concentration for the goal [was poor]. We knew what they were about - they have energy and desire to run.

“For the goal the midfielders ran past us and we weren’t concentrating - I hope it was that and not the desire to run back because if it is I have to do something about it. That’s what cost us the goal. We got a lot of crosses in and maybe we were unlucky not to equalise but being an ex defender I thought they defended their goal resolutely.

“We didn’t show enough character on and off the ball to warrant a win. I thought a draw would have been fair but we didn’t show enough to win.”

Bowen on the reasons for the poor showing

“You try to balance things up and keeping that freshness, but also wary about getting injuries. We didn’t stamp our authority on the opposition - we were too casual starting the game.”

Bowen on the change in tactics or personnel going forward

“We need to think about those things. Puscas - he’s running around and trying. The game he started last week was his first start in six weeks. He’s a striker who thrives on playing often and with confidence, like a lot of strikers.

“So you try to persevere but obviously we have to look at things. There’s no doubt about it - you can shy away from it if the finger is pointed at the defending sometimes, it has to be pointed at the work rate and what’s going on further up the pitch as well. We have to look at all those things.

“The majority of the last 10-12 games we’ve done well but tonight was a close game and the concentration caught us out.”

Bowen on Puscas feeling the pressure

“A lot of strikers feel it - and the expectation of being the goalscorer at a club. He did have a bad injury and the decision had to be made whether he could or should have had an operation. He didn’t and he’s going to play through it, certainly until the end of the season.

“He has come back in and started two games - he will say he is rusty but we have got to get more people around him so it’s a collective thing. We’re all in this together. Strikers need chances and need to score goals otherwise they put themselves under pressure.”

Bowen provides a transfer update

“I hope so [bringing players in]. Hopefully we’ll be able to do some sort of business. As much as anything, new faces can give a club a lift as well. They give the squad, fans and the training ground a buzz which is important. I’m hoping we’ll be able to announce one or two in the next 48 hours. I’m hoping.”

Bowen on whether recent defeats impact transfer activity

“It’s easy to say yes. You have to try and not get too far ahead of yourself. We have to concentrate on a big game down on Friday night against Cardiff. If you win that you look at the table so we’ll keep going. Every game you play you learn.”

Bowen on play off prospects

“It is 10 points but that can change. I won’t lose hope. If you go on a run of three or four wins then you might be four or five points away. Fans have to be like me and try not to lose hope - we’ll keep striving and pushing for it.”

Bowen on Matt Miazga’s injury

“He’s got a grade two strain on his ankle ligaments so it’s going to be a significant time - between four and six weeks. McIntyre has done well when he has come in though.”

Bowen on Danny Loader absence

Bowen on Tyler Blackett’s contract

“Not sure. I’ve told my wishes to the board and am letting them get on with it.”