Reading’s penultimate game in the Championship was a thriller, but the Royals ended up on the losing side against Blackburn at Ewood Park in a 4-3 defeat.
We had a terrible start with us 2-0 down after six minutes, and although John Swift scored a fantastic free kick after 15 minutes to put us in a promising position at half time, Joe Rothwell restored Blackburn’s two-goal lead shortly after half time. But Bowen made three subs that changed the game, with Sam Baldock scoring a fantastic header and then Yakou Meite equalising to make it 3-3. Unfortunately Blackburn surprisingly took all three points with minutes left when Sam Gallagher scored the winner.
Bowen on the performance
“We started slowly, didn’t have the intensity right from the start. It was almost like we were waiting for something to happen before we reacted. And as a result we conceded two goals which were avoidable just with a bit more communication between each other.
“And even at that early stage, we’d given ourselves a mountain to climb. But we get back into it and there’s a period in the game where we’re on top, playing some decent stuff - and then we conceded a third sloppy goal.
“Then we come back into the game again and when it was 3-3 I thought if one team was going to win it, it was going to be us - we were in the ascendancy. And yet again, we don’t deal with a situation at the back - Michael Morrison is forced to make a last ditch tackle, but then we don’t deal with the cross coming in, we don’t deal with the free header at the back post - and again some individuals making some errors costs us.”
Bowen on consistency
“In one game, it almost it summed up what we have been like all season. There were periods in the game where we looked like a good side, a threat - then almost the complete opposite where we looked ragged at times. Then, we flick a switch and we’re back on the ball and we’re playing again.
“We’ve got to make sure as a team we are more consistent than we are now. It’s something we’ve got to address going into next season. We’ll strive to get more consistency in our results and in our play ahead of next season, which can’t come quick enough for me now!
“There were periods in the game where I was thinking we look a good side and were a threat and then it’s almost the complete opposite.
“We’ll be losing a lot of players with those on loan and those out of contract. There’s probably a significant amount of changes coming to the club so maybe it’s a fresh start for them.”
Bowen on Tom McIntyre’s injury
“He took a strong ball into the face - I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet but he is feeling a bit shaken up by it.”
Bowen on our attacking threats
“People said we didn’t have enough shots on target against Middlesbrough so I made the decision to go 4-4-2 and be a bit more adventurous going forward to cause them problems.
“At periods it worked and we looked a threat but in doing that we have to make sure we are switched on and communicating at the back. At times we were punished for that today.”
Bowen on the impact of the subs
“Moore came on and did well, Baldock had a real influence which is what I want so I was happy with that. It’s all you can ask for - the players are ready to come on and make a difference.”
Bowen on results been impacted by players’ futures since lockdown
“We did a lot of work before we came back in and the players seemed to be looking forward to it. The mind of a professional footballer is a complicated thing. If they know they’re not going to be here next year and there are players out of contract then some that might be a motivation, for others who knows, they may have made their mind up already.
“Maybe there are people whispering in their ears, it all contributes to their mental state going into games. In hindsight it probably has affected us.”
Bowen on knowing who is and is not staying at club
“I’m very clear in my mind which way we want to go and which way we will and need to go. We need to get Swansea on Wednesday out the way first - we need people motivated and ready to go into that game. Let’s see the season out first then we’ll make some decisions.”
Bowen on Adam and Masika’s absence
“Adam is feeling something in his groin and Masika just wasn’t selected.”