George Puscas secured the Royals a big three points to secure their safety in the Championship for next season against Charlton at The Valley. That is our third clean sheet in a row and it got off to a really good start for the Royals with Puscas putting away a penalty in the third minute.
Mark Bowen was delighted with picking up our second away win in a week and keeping yet another clean sheet. After the game, he spoke to the official club website and GetReading.
Bowen on the performance
“I’m delighted with another clean sheet, the third in a row since we changed it a little bit at the back. But also, when players were flagging a little bit, away from home, it’s great to be able to bring the likes of Liam Moore and Chris Gunter off the bench - they were excellent and did that job that made sure the club came away with three points.
“It looked like a scrappy game to me and there wasn’t ever going to be a lot in it - we got the goal and then it’s about seeing it out, doing your jobs, communication, all those little things that enable you to get the result on the day.
“Maybe we rode our luck a little bit and I’m sure Lee Bowyer will think his side could have taken something from the game. But we got all three points this afternoon and that doesn’t just happen - you have to make them happen.
“We got our noses in front and it was a battle, from start to finish. They put us under a lot of pressure - I think they had 17 or 18 crosses into our box in the first half alone. But for me today it was a case of showing our resolve, our determination, our heart - we were in the game, winning 1-0 and we saw the game out and got the three points.”
Bowen on another clean sheet
“That’s what all good sides are built on. We know the margins are tight. We had to make sure we were defensively solid. Liam Moore came out and sat in front of the defenders and helped organise things. Chris Gunter also came on and helped make sure we came away with the three points.”
Bowen on the referee’s performance
“I felt a bit sorry for Lee Bowyer. It was one of those days where they were screaming for things and maybe on another day they would have got the decisions. They say it evens itself out throughout the season - I’m not a big advocate of that. Those in the bottom half usually suffer the most.
“I did feel for him as there were a few decisions I’d raise my eyebrows to but it’s happened to us in the past and we’ll take what we can get.”
Bowen on George Puscas’ display
“His job is to score goals and he has to work on other parts of his game. He’s a young player and he’s got a contribution to the team in terms of his link play and hopefully that will come.
“He’s working hard at it so to get the goals he’s had I’m delighted for him. There’s lots more to come from him. There’s no preset thing for taking him off (around the hour mark), it’s just how the game is going.”
Bowen on having seven defenders on at the end of the match
“Sometimes it goes against you because you don’t put enough pressure further up the park. Maybe you’re trying to get that balance but today they had wingers and were putting balls in and I knew we had to win the second balls. In that situation defenders are more likely to be pro-active in the final 15 minutes rather than be reactive.”
Bowen on finishing the season on a high
“I said to the guys this morning, that if you need any motivation, then you’ll get it from me and the staff here. Every game is important to us, hugely important to me, the club, the staff, the players.
“Surely as a player you want to finish the season in the top half of the league or even in the top ten. And there’s no reason why any game should be a gimme or just another game in seeing out the season. That’s not the way it’s going to work.
“Aside perhaps from the top three at the moment, there are very small margins between teams in this division. So you’ve got to be at it. You can’t afford to carry players, so the motivation for the players is to put the effort in for themselves. And they gave me plenty of that today.
“So now we’re going to go again on Tuesday - our home form has not been good enough so we’ll dust ourselves down and make sure we show our fans we’ve got as much desire to win at home as we seem to have away from home.”