Reading boss Jose Gomes explains why George Puscas didn't start at Middlesbrough

In the build-up to Middlesbrough’s 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday afternoon, Royals striker George Puscas was the centre of attention.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 4:06 pm
Reading striker George Puscas started on the bench against Middlesbrough.
Reading striker George Puscas started on the bench against Middlesbrough.

Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate spoke about how he was impressed by the frontman after watching him play for Romania Under-21s in the summer, but didn’t have the funds to bring him to the Riverside.

Reading, meanwhile, were able to folk out a reported £7.5million to sign Puscas from Inter Milan and, after the striker had scored three goals in his first six games for the Royals, manager Jose Gomes was already talking about trying to keep the player in January.

It was something of a surprise, then, when the teams were announced at 2pm and Puscus was only named as a substitute.

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The 23-year-old was introduced in the second half, when Reading were chasing the game, but was unable to make a difference at the Riverside.

When asked if he was surprised that Puscas didn’t start, Woodgate replied: “I was very surprised, I thought he would play but they have other good strikers to play, they have five really, really good strikers for this league.”

Instead, Yakou Meite and Lucas Boye led the line for Reading and Gomes defended his decision to leave Puscas out after the match.

“Puscas didn’t start, Lucas Joao didn’t start and Pele didn’t start,” he said. “I will speak clear about this, first they had travelled for their national team, Pele and Puscas, and just arrived at the end of the week but that was not the only reason.

“The reason was that I did not like the way that they played in the last game.

“I have six strikers, all of them must fight for their position. They must give everything they have inside them like footballers, that it is my obligation to demand that from them.

“If they do not give the maximum they can, in my opinion, then we have very good quality players that can replace them and play, that is what happened today.”