Mark Bowen on: Late Leeds defeat, defensive improvement, Gunter’s return, injury updates and more

Reading manager Mark Bowen (pictures by Steve Smyth)
Reading new manager, Mark Bowen, takes charge of training session followed by a press conference on Tuesday.

Mark Bowen said after Reading were defeated by a late Jack Harrison header to condemn the Royals to their second consecutive defeat.

On the late defeat…

“It’s very tough to take, we had a game plan and did a lot of preparation on Leeds. They create chances and dominate play. They had a fair bit of possession but our keeper didn’t have a real shot to save.

“We’re a bit bitter, we look at our game plan and we looked to counter but in doing that when we get a transition going forward we’ve got to be better at retaining the ball.

“When we go forward, we have to be better as a group, to take care with the ball and make sure we finish up with more shots at the end of games.”

Evaluation of the performance…

I’ll pat them on the back on the fact that we have a team that is competitive, really competitive. We’ve got to make sure we’re a team that turns solid performances into points on the board.

“The physical stats of my team, Saturday and tonight again we smashed them in terms of distance run, sprints, everything a coach looks for. My team are giving everything in terms of effort and desire. We need to turn that into points and shots on goal.”

Impressive defensive display…

“I was pleased with the defensive performance. A special mention to Chris Gunter, he’s had a difficult time but it shows the true pro he is to come into a difficult situation against the league leaders and I thought he had a smashing game.”

Lucas Joao and Baldock injury update…

“There’s a game on Thursday against Charlton for the under 23’s which he’ll play apart of and we’ll see how he comes through that with a view to have him available for Saturday.

“We haven’t given up on Sam Baldock yet. He came off against Brentford feeling something high up in his hamstring, he’s had two scans that haven’t shown anything. hes a player that is explosive and his game is based on how much ground he covers so we’ve got to be wary that we don’t lose him for four or five games.”

George Puscas’ struggling form…

“George is working hard and like any striker you feel for him at times. There’s a lot of pressure and expectancy, he’s still a young player learning the game. We’ve got to coach him and give him belief. He wants to do well, so we need to work with him on the training ground and speak with him to encourage him.

“He’s got it in his locker to score two or three on Saturday, and then bang he is off and running.

“We’ve got strikers, everyone one of them pushing for places, they’re all chomping at the bit. That’s why we put demands on them. The form of the team has turned around, and I see a desire in the players eyes.

“It’s a mental thing now for us to lick our wounds and get at it on Saturday and I know we will because we have that desire in the dressing room.”

Looking ahead to Wigan…

I’m not a big believer in must win games, but it’s a chance for us to get one over a team close to us in the table.

“You look tonight against Leeds, it shows the fine margins between any teams in this league so it’s the little things you need to put right to give you a better chance of winning games.”

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