Reading boss Mark Bowen has called on his side to ‘make more use of the ball’ in the final third after his side fell to a late defeat against Leeds United.

The Royals defended resolutely for long periods of the game but struggled to create clear cut goalscoring opportunities. 

Bowen said: “I’m a little bit bitter, because obviously we were looking at playing a more counter attacking game but in doing that, when we get a transition of play going forward we have got to be better retaining the ball and making more use of it, especially going into the final third.

“I think when we go into those forward areas, we have to be better as a group and making sure we end up with more shots on goal."

Although Reading ended up leaving the Madejski empty-handed on Tuesday night, Bowen said that he was pleased with his side’s performance – calling on his players to turn ‘solid performances into points’.

“I think we’ve got a team which is really competitive, but we have got to make sure we are a squad that turns good, solid performances into points on the board.

“We smashed them in terms of physicality. My team are giving everything they’ve got in terms of effort and desire. What we have to do in the coming weeks is to turn those performances into points on the board.

“I think over the last few weeks the form of the team has turned around, without any question. I see a desire in the players eyes to go and produce, win games and climb the table. It’s been hard, Saturday losing 1-0 there and 1-0 tonight.

“It’s a mental thing for us now. We’ve got to lick our wounds a little bit for 24 hours and come back and make sure we’re at it on Saturday at Wigan. I know we will be.”