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Mark Bowen Praises Reading’s ‘Heart, Guts And Determination’ In Birmingham City Win

Reading weren’t at their best, but a half-time team talk from Bowen prompted a second-half comeback at St Andrews.

Birmingham City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reading capped off a positive week on Saturday with what was, in the end at least, a comfortable win at Birmingham City. Second-half goals from Matt Miazga, Yakou Meite and Pele spared the Royals’ blushes after a poor first half, and gave Reading their second league win on the bounce.

Mark Bowen was, naturally, delighted with the character that his players showed at St Andrews, and emphasised that in his post-match comments to the media. Below is what he had to say about the game; his full quotes can be found here on GetReading.

Bowen on a “sloppy” first half and turnaround after the break

“The first half was maybe a hangover from Tuesday. We say all the right things about needing to start fast but we were nowhere near it. Not just the goal - that sets you back - but we just weren’t there. We talked about what we needed to try and do in the second half.

“If we got the next goal we knew we’d back in it. I felt as soon as we got that from Matt - and it was a great finish - I felt we would go on and win the game. You could see the players growing in confidence and that result was built on heart, guts and determination after the week we’ve had with extra time - I was delighted with the shift they put in.

“I was delighted with the third goal because in my mind it was game won. We’re still in there fighting and let’s see where we can go.”

“It was simple messages [at half time] - we weren’t doing the right things. Special mention to Michael Olise who was the one player in the first half who wanted the ball and wanted to play.

“We were sloppy at times with all those little things that can make a difference. I didn’t think we were fantastic in the second half and in the last 10 minutes if our passing was right we could have had three or four more. It was about character, getting the goals and getting over the winning line.”

Bowen on a goal-scoring performance from Matt Miazga

“I don’t think he did a lot wrong - he probably didn’t put enough power on the header; it was more about Hogan being clever. He’s been out for six weeks and to think the performances he has put in over the three games - full credit to him.

“He has scored two goals under me now - there’s nothing wrong with his technique when he gets in those areas.”

Birmingham City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium Photo by Morgan Harlow/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Bowen on Liam Moore’s absence

“He has been out the side and it’s hurt him. He’s still had to be a leader in the dressing room but we are in a situation where players are waiting for their chance. We’ll need everybody though in the last nine games.”

Bowen on injuries

“Baldock has a calf strain and I thought long and hard about bringing Loader in and Aluko too but coming to a place like St Andrew’s, we needed to be strong at the back so that’s why I had an extra defender.

“Yiadom had an injection on his foot so we were fragile in the backline and that’s why I had another midfielder and defender on the bench. We can always shift Meite across if anything happens with Puscas.”

Bowen on a week’s preparation before Stoke City come to the Mad Stad

“The players need a rest physically and mentally so we have to balance it up. We’ll be in Monday and may have Tuesday and Wednesday off. I want everybody in fresh on Thursday.”

“Stoke will come to us full of confidence next week and the expectation will be on us to win the game - that’s something we have let ourselves down on. We have to make sure we are focused for it.”