middlesbrough’s play is easy on the eye for opposition coaches, but the task now for manager Tony Mowbray is to turn that into wins.
Boro’s boss lamented this week that his side are repeatedly praised by the men in the opposition dugout despite the fact that they have won only once in all competitions this season.
Mowbray, whose side have not won in six and sit 16th in the early Championship table, said: “We feel as though we’re not far from being a strong team in this league.
“In the manager’s office after every game people tell us we’re the best team they’ve played.
“Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said he feels we’re a smidgen away from being a very good side.
“I agree with that; we just have to try to fine-tune it and find the right player to create competition in that area.”
Today’s challenge is one of the toughest in the division, away at QPR, but Boro have often been at their best on their travels, as evidenced last month when they won at Charlton.
Mowbray has been working hard to bring in a defender, but failed to do so before today’s trip to Loftus Road.
“We’ve made some calls this week and done some work behind the scenes, but it’s been a bad week because most Premier League clubs are using their squads in the Capital One Cup,” he said.
Former York City and Plymouth Argyle defender Ben Gibson, 20, is set to deputise for the suspended Rhys Williams, alongside Jonathan Woodgate.
“Ben has bags of potential and that’s why he’s still here,” said Mowbray ahead of a meeting with Harry Redknapp.
“My phone never stops ringing for him to go out on loan, but I’ve spoken to the boy and he’s more than happy to be in our first- team squad this year as part of his progression and I’ve told him he’ll get some games.
“He’s a very determined young man who’s been waiting for this opportunity.
“Let’s hope he takes it with both hands and makes life difficult for Rhys.
“Let’s hope he can come in this weekend and try to cement a place in our team – it’s up for grabs because of the goals we’ve conceded.”