The Royals returned to form with a brilliant 3-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Goals from Yakou Meite, George Puscas and Sam Baldock secured all three points which keeps us 11 points away from the relegation area. It was a comfortable win overall and Mark Bowen praised his side. He spoke to the official club website and GetReading after the game.
Bowen on getting back to winning ways
“It seems to have been a little too long coming! We’ve drawn games and a couple of losses, so it was important that we got back to winning ways. Obviously I’m delighted with the result and the performance. But it was more about what they took on board. Coming into the game, with the conditions being as they were, I was emphasising that we needed to play intelligent football.
“Making the right decisions and choices, and not putting yourself under pressure at the wrong times. And when you get a chance to get it down and play, doing that as well. We did all of those things.”
Bowen on the game
“It was about showing the right footballing intelligence in the game and not putting ourselves under pressure. In fairness we started a bit slowly in the first five or 10 minutes but as we grew into the game, Swift, Olise and Ejaria all got onto the ball and were controlling possession.
“In the last few games we’ve been in front but have been pegged back so when we did get our noses in front it was about showing what we’re about. Before the Cardiff game when we had been in front we’d gone on to win the game so it was important we managed it right today. It was added pressure at half time so it was about managing it right in the second half.”
Bowen on Olise’s penalty shout
“I thought we should have had a penalty - I asked Olise at half time, he said he got kicked in the box and it was a definite penalty but it wasn’t given. We had that disappointment to deal with and although they got a man sent off we were professional in the way we handled the game.”
Bowen on Ejaria’s quality
“He’s special isn’t he - he picked the right pass. We did some work with him in the week - and Meite too - not just playing in straight lines and making sure they cut inside and joining alongside Puscas - like what West Brom did to us in midweek. They bought into it really well. Yakou made the run and it was a good finish.”
Bowen on Swift’s deeper role
“We had the disappointment of losing Pele. He’s been playing with a groin problem and he’s probably only been 85-90 per cent fit. It flared up again and I’m not sure yet if he will be available for Leeds.
“I wanted Rinomhota driving on from midfield and showing those qualities in his game. I wanted John Swift in that quarter back role to get on the ball and play and he did that very well.”
Bowen on Obita’s injury
“He had a kick on his ankle so we’re waiting on him. He will have a scan. We’ve got seven or eight players out injured but we’ll get on with it and the players who have come in have proved they can do a great job.”
Bowen on play-off aims
“I’ve got to be careful in putting pressure on the players but until it’s mathematically possible all we can do is win as many games as we can. We’ve made it harder for ourselves but we’ve made it possible with the fantastic work we did around Christmas. I’m happy to get a long overdue win on the board. But it is one win - that’s all it is.”
Bowen on looking up
“This club has had too much disappointment over the past few years so we’re trying to build something. Maybe it won’t happen overnight but we’ll try and produce something fans can be happy with and make the club stronger and be able to compete in this league.”
Bowen on Leeds next weekend
“I have to make a decision - how much to work and how much rest do I give the players. We’ve got five games in 14 days after that game so I have to mix up the work in training and giving them respite. It’s hard for my staff and players. You end up saying the same things at times so you have to keep that freshness.”