“A scrappy affair,” Mark Bowen said of the Royals’ 1-1 draw at Barnsley – Lucas João’s goal cancelled out a Cauley Woodrow opener which had come about after a defensive mix-up. “We had little periods of momentum, but we struggled to get a real control of the game I felt.
“Some things have conspired against us too – we’ve suffered with injuries going into the game and on the night, and it was a poor goal and Michael Morrison is devastated in the dressing room, but you have to encourage these players to mix things up and try to play.
“Every team in the division will have periods where the game isn’t flowing for your naturally, but you have to fight through that. You have to be brave on the ball, take that extra touch. At times tonight we were quick to help the ball on and put it into areas where the strikers were, so they’re surviving on scraps.
“I thought we were a bit passive defensively in the first 20, 30 minutes. Standing off too much – you don’t want to be happy just to be goal-side, you need to be closer and more aggressive.
“We can be better than that, we know we can. But we came away from home and you have to try and take something from every game that you can. We showed a lot of resilience to get back into the game.
“We went to a back four, the players bought into it, and we were in the ascendency when we got the goal back. We’ve taken something from the game, and you have to do that. We were behind in the game and we showed the resilience.
“That’s what we need to do from now for the rest of the season. Go into every game and try to get something out of it, especially because in the last couple of games we haven’t been as fluid as we have been. One or two people can lose their confidence because of it, but we have to encourage the lads to be brave and to play ourselves into games.
“And now we need to recover right and prepare for Stoke on Saturday.”