Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Royals pick up points

YAKOU MEITE was unable to add to his four-goal display against Luton on Saturday when Reading played out a goalless draw at home to Huddersfield on Tuesday night.

But the Royals picked up another clean sheet as they climbed two places in the Championship to 13th with four games to play.

While it will mean they will comfortably finish the season in mid-table, Mark Bowen’s side could still have a say on who goes down.

Reading are away to relegation-threatened Charlton tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off at 12.30pm, before hosting Middlesbrough on Tuesday, kick-off 6pm.

Speaking after the draw on Tuesday, Bowen said: “We'll take the clean sheet and you always have to be happy with that, but I thought we were lacking that bit of quality and ruthlessness in the final third.

“Time and time again, even going into the last 15 minutes, we were flat and sloppy in our decision-making, not beating the first man or getting the ball into the area quickly. We were a bit erratic in those sorts of areas.

“Maybe there was a bit of a hangover from Saturday, a game we won 5-0 and could’ve easily won by more, as we were a bit lethargic and it took us a while to get going.

“We can’t take our foot off the pedal between now and the end of the season as we go to Charlton on Saturday and we’ll have to be prepared to face a very, very strong performance against a side with everything to fight for.”

Gorge Puscas had Reading’s best chance against the Terriers in the first half but goalkeeper Jonas Lossl blocked his attempted chip from inside the penalty area.

The match at the Madejski Stadium saw just five shots on target, including a drive from Reading midfielder Michael Olise straight at Lossl with the final kick of the game.

In the game against Luton, Meite scored two goals in the space of two minutes and completed his hat-trick in the space of 18 minutes before half-time.

Puscas headed in a fourth early in the second half before assisting Meite for his fourth and Reading’s fifth soon after.

It was Reading’s biggest win in the Championship since 2014 and eased any lingering relegation fears.

Bowen said after the game that the Ivorian had held talks with him about changing his position on the pitch.

Bowen said: “He came to see me yesterday in my office, putting a case across for him to play more as a number nine and a central striker, but I said to him I feel he can find more space in the wide areas and create more chances.

He looked across at me in the changing room afterwards with a wry smile and a grin so maybe I won that particular argument this time.”

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