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Mark Bowen Frustrated By Poor Ball Retention In Middlesbrough Defeat

A Liam Moore goal wasn’t enough as Reading’s three-match unbeaten came to an end at the Mad Stad.

Reading v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - Madejski Stadium Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Reading’s poor home form continued with yet another defeat, this time at the hands of Middlesbrough. Since the Championship has returned, the Royals have picked up two points out of a possible 12 at the Madejski.

It looked positive for Reading when Liam Moore gave us the lead, but Boro equalised just before half time through Ashley Fletcher. Patrick Roberts secured all three points for the away side with just eight minutes left.

Mark Bowen was very frustrated after the game and admitted work needs to be done to step up the quality. After the game he spoke to GetReading.

Bowen on the defeat

“I’m obviously very disappointed with the final result. We started the game well and we knew Neil Warnock’s side would ask us questions of us.

“We got in front and then we had a certain penalty turned down on Olise and then Swift hit the inside of the post - if one of those two had gone in I think we might have gone and won the game comfortably.

“But we let them back in the game through poor defending. We tried to step up quality in the forward areas but our ball retention and selection wasn’t forthcoming. We’ve got to keep working on that part of the game - I see it in training every day but tonight there wasn’t a lot of quality.

“Defensively we switch off at the back post for the second goal and we’re 2-1 down against a side lacking a bit of quality but I would expect us to beat them more often than not.”

Bowen on Middlesbrough having something to play for

“The mentality of individuals, you have to take that into your game. In the second half we looked like a team going through the motions and seeing out the season.”

Bowen on not kicking on at 1-0

“Olise, Swift and Puscas were all sloppy in possession. They had to show better quality in their passing. Every time we gave the ball away we just encouraged them. We should have had more character in possession and keep chasing the ball. Maybe tonight it was one of those end of season games which, believe me, absolutely drives me mad.”

Bowen on playing Moore in midfield

“He likes to play back to forward quickly and Boro had been playing with two strikers. I just thought Liam could sit in front of the defence and I thought he did okay.

“Swift looked a bit tired, he was off it, and he wasn’t on his own. There were a few others and we were scratching around for that bit of quality. Pele came off on Saturday and he has a grade one hamstring.”

Bowen on just one home win in 13

“If we had fans in the stadium you could say the players may have been a bit nervy, so I don’t know. I’m not just saying it because of our record, the season balances itself up and our away form has been very good.

“Of course we have an eye on it going into next season because we want to win games in front of our own fans. We’ll look at how we can improve that.”