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“We missed that little bit of guile or quality”

Royals boss reflects on narrow defeat

23 November 2019

Brentford were winners on the day in a game that could have gone either way. Reading created the only gilt-edged opportunity of the game, but it was the Bees who capitalised on a half-chance to win it through Ollie Watkins.

George Pușcaș was denied by some good goalkeeping in the first period by David Raya when he went through one-on-one, while Watkins headed what proved to be the match-winner on the hour-mark.

Boss Mark Bowen felt that while most aspects of the game-plan were executed well, the thing that was missing for Reading was a moment of inspiration or craft to put the ball in the net.

“In this league, it is fine margins that make the difference,” Bowen said. “For our game-plan, we wanted a bit of aggression and desire in our play. We had that and I am delighted with side.

“But it is fine margins. We maybe didn’t have that little bit of guile and quality in the final third at the right time.

“I am disappointed for the lads because the game-plan was there. We knew that we had to stay in the game, and a little bit of a lack of concentration cost us at least a point.

“We switched off a bit for their goal. We knew that it would be a tight game and that one goal might swing it. We had ample opportunities going into the final third with the ball. It was one of those days where, with the quality we have in our side, we were searching for that little something different to create a goal.

“We had a great opportunity in the first half with George Pușcaș which we would expect him to put away – and he knows that. Strikers live and die by their goals – but I am happy with the work that he put in for the team.

“In the second half, there weren’t many clear-cut opportunities. From where I’m stood on the sidelines, when we are getting into the final third and I’m expecting things to happen, that pass wasn’t quite there or the control wasn’t quite there.

“But it has been there, and it will be again.”

And another word on the fans, who sold out the away end at Griffin Park and certainly did their bit for the side.

“I feel like I repeat myself every week – I have come to expect it from our fans,” Bowen continued.

“They come and get behind us all the way. At times it was like a home game all the way, because they didn’t stop singing and encouraging our players.

“I’d like to think that while we are all disappointed as they leave the stadium tonight, they will be able to look at the effort and desire that the players are putting in and know that we’ll be more than alright this season.”

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