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💬 "We took our eye off the ball and it cost us"

Royals boss reflects on a disappointing defeat at home to Middlesbrough...

14 July 2020

Three clean sheets, seven points from a possible nine and an early lead at home to Middlesbrough - but Neil Warnock's Teessiders battled back to scrap a victory at Madejski Stadium this evening.

"We started well, we got our noses in front, we should have had a penalty, John Swift has a shot that looks like it's going in and then at the last minute it moves and hits the post - either of those go in and it would have given us a cushion and I think we would have gone on to comfortably win the game," the manager Mark Bowen said after the final whistle.

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"But we let them back in it with some sloppy defending and then going into the latter stages of the game, they had everything to fight for.

"Maybe we just took our eye off the ball in those closing stages and it's cost us the game.

"You know Neil's sides are going to put you under pressure, they're going to put crosses in and ask questions of you all the time. We answered those querstions and coped with it ok, but you switch off for a moment and they take their chance well to win it.

"At the weekend we went in front and showed real character and resilience to earn the win at Charlton, who certainly put us under more pressure than Middlesbrough did tonight. At the Valley we stood firm and got the result. 

"But tonight a few individuals were a little casual with the ball and we made mistakes.

"We've done well in the last few games and just when you think, we're at home, go on and put in a performance in and stake a claim for a top half of the table finish, or even the top ten...we get beaten with a disappointing performance.

"We're in that mid-table mediocrity now, which is horrible really. It is important to strive for points in the final two games, for the fans watching at home and for the club.

"And we've also got to look to the future now and make sure we're stronger going forward."

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