The Royals season ended what has been a disappointing in disastrous style losing 4-1 to Swansea at the Madejski.
Swansea took the lead through a fantastic Rhian Brewster strike, before Yakou Meite lashed out and saw red in the 40th minute, leaving the Royals down to 10 men. Andy Rinomhota won a penalty just minutes later which George Puscas dispatched to put us in level at half time, but the second half was disappointing, with Swansea scoring another three and securing their place in the play-offs.
Reading finished the campaign in 14th (due to Wigan’s points deduction) and after the game, Mark Bowen admitted that there will be a lot of changes that will be made before next season. He spoke to the official club website and GetReading.
Bowen on the performance
“We were a bit slow off the blocks, trying to get to grip with Swansea’s passing game and then we came into it and I thought we were playing some decent stuff. We were controlling possession more than them. Then they scored with their first shot of the game so we were feeling a little hard done-by at that.
“Then we had a situation with Yakou losing his head - I think their fella went down as if he was shot but you could argue he is entitled to do that as someone has raised their hands to him so it was ill discipline on Yakou’s part.
“We showed character to come back into the game with 10 men and it was then making sure we were defensively sound, delaying them and playing counter attacking football. We did that ok to a degree but and in the final 20 minutes we had four one-on-ones but poor finishing which has haunted us all season [has cost us].
“At the back end of the game there was some tiredness and lacking in concentration and that has haunted us too in the last three games. We played Luton, Charlton and Huddersfield and looked solid as a unit but then in the past three games some of the mistakes we have made defensively have really cost us. It’s been a difficult season for everybody at the club.”
Bowen on players leaving
“I think we’ll possibly have 10 players leaving so it’s a really important time for the club - we have to make sure we get things right going forward in terms of recruitment. And with the philosophy of the club - a lot of work needs to be done.
“This club in four of the past five years has been 20th, 20th, 19th and 17th and clearly that’s not good enough for the club. We got up to mid table and safety a while back but we were hovering around 14th/15th for too long without being able to make that jump into the top half which has been disappointing.
“I came in with the job of rebuilding the club and the philosophy so I can’t wait to get started next year to get my players in, my team together with maybe a stronger and different philosophy.”
Bowen on whether there will be financial constraints
“Yes there will be. It’s a marketplace which is fraught with danger when you haven’t got a lot of money. With the loan players, out of contract players and who we can bring in.
“It’s going to be a hard job but we’ll have a two week break but my break will only be from the grass at the training ground because my job won’t switch off.”
Bowen on Ejaria
“I’m not sure if that [the agreement to sign him] is now possible due to the financial constraints.”
Bowen on Baldock
“He told me after Blackburn he had a pain in his back. He was really in my thoughts for tonight’s game and he trained yesterday but his back seized up overnight and he said he didn’t feel he was ready to do himself justice and I accept that because he’s a good pro.”
Bowen on contracts being signed
“Decisions are and have been made but I haven’t had a chance to speak to the individuals yet.”
Bowen on the summer
“This club needs building. We have to make sure we recruit well in the summer and get a different attitude to things. I want to get a young vibrant side that is full of running, full of energy and show the fans that we can play a high-tempo game and take games to the opposition.
“The demands on everybody, players especially, have to be higher going into next season. This club has been 20th twice the last couple of seasons. It’s not good enough. This season we have ended up in 15th, but we’ve got to try to get higher up this table and try to challenge next season for at least the play-offs.
“We’ll have a number of players leaving over the next few days and it’s how we replace them and get a better philosophy to our play with players I hope to bring in to take the club forward.
“There are difficult decisions to be made at this club and we’ve all got to make sure we get it right. We’ve got a fantastic state of the art training ground to go into. We’ve got to make the right decisions and get players in that are good enough to take the club forward.”
Bowen on the work that needs to be done
“In terms of not going to the training ground, myself and the staff will have a couple of weeks off. But, believe me, I don’t think I’ll get a day off - there is a lot of work to be done. I’ll be looking at the squad of players I’ve got and trying to put plans into place. And then in a few weeks’ time we’ll be back in and preparing for next season. And we’ll be ready to go.
“It’s going to be a complicated time. But in terms of trying to put my stamp on the squad, I’m actually looking forward to that. That’s not just getting new players in, but I can promise you there will be a different mentality going into next season.
“Our fans haven’t been in this stadium for a while now and we wanted to finish off the season strongly for them - but it hasn’t happened. Now, next season, we will aim to get a group of players together which... I can’t promise we’ll win every week, but I can say the focus will be on trying to take this club forward for the fans.”