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"Showing heart, character and our nasty side"

Royals boss praises first hour of fluent football and the grit and determination shown in the final half an hour to secure victory...

2 November 2019

The blood pressure was beginning to return to a normal level once manager Mark Bowen gave his post-match reaction to a stylish first hour's football followed by a gutsy final 30 minutes that ground out a second successive home win.

He began, "We were totally in charge in the first half. Jordan created a goal with a shot just like that against Preston and I'm delighted he scored today.

"And the same goes for Sam Baldock, he's come back into the team in the last two games and shown real character. Everyone sees all the work he puts in on and off the ball, and he's reminding everyone of the quality he has - what a strike it was to go and win the game for us.

"Liam going off threw us a little bit, as it would when you lose the leader of the group. They came into the ascendancy and they got their goal. That didn't help my blood pressure. 

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"But we battled away, soaked up a lot of pressure - which we knew we'd have to do against a team who went direct and who brought on two big guys in Bodvarsson and Smith who thrive on that - and for our guys to cope with that pressure, they showed their character, heart, the nasty side of the game.

"So to come through that sort of pressure at the end, that will stand us in good stead going forward.

"We played for more than hour when we've totally dominated possession, created good chances - we're still striving for that balance between battling away to earn the right to play and then playing our game, but I was delighted that we showed both sides today."

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Back-to-back home wins saw Royals fans head home happy with three points in the end. But the challenge is to earn another win here next weekend when we take on Luton Town.

"In my first two games we went into them as underdogs and we picked up four points. Arguably today we were favourites, even though Millwall were ahead of us in the table, so that came with a different pressure. In my mind, I expected us to win the game and we did.

"I look at that table though and we're still not within touching distance of where I want us to be. We've got a result today, but we're professionals and we've got to dust ourselves down, train hard this week and look win again against Luton next weekend.

"And playing like we did in the first half and getting results like we did today will help bring the community back and get bums on seats here at the Madejski. We want people to come and watch us play, but these people have got to pay their hard earned cash so we know we've got to give them something to cheer and get behind. 

"Our owner Mr Dai was here today and came down to the dressing room after the game to congratulate the lads - but we're fully aware we've got to go again and get a win again next week."

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