George Friend injury adds to Middlesbrough’s woes

Middlesbrough's George Friend: Set to miss next game.
Middlesbrough's George Friend: Set to miss next game.
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Tony Pulis told his Middlesbrough players it is down to them to revive their fading play-off hopes after suffering a sixth successive Championship defeat.

The last time Boro lost six games in a row was November, 2000 when they were a Premier League team and Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Swansea left them four points outside the top six.

Boro did at least end almost six-and-a-half hours without scoring with a consolation effort from George Saville after Swans goals from Matt Grimes (penalty), Wayne Routledge and Connor Roberts.

“I was really disappointed with the first half,” said Pulis. “I just thought the way we played it wasn’t until five minutes into the second half that we got hold of the game.

“Even then, Swansea caused us problems on the break. Out of all the games we had left this season this was the one I was more worried about than all the others.

“Don’t forget they were a Premier League side last season. The players didn’t perform to the level they are capable of and have just got to pick themselves up. We’ve had a good chat about it and it’s not about me believing we can make the play-offs, it’s up to the players.

“I think they believe they can do it and they were as disappointed as anyone else in the way they played in the first half. They didn’t perform to the level they are capable of and they’ve got to be bigger and better than that.”

To add to Pulis’s worries, George Friend picked up a hip injury that could see him miss tomorrow night’s trip to Bolton.

Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Roberts, van der Hoorn (Rodon 79), Carter-Vickers, Naughton, Byers, Grimes, Dyer, Celina, James (Narsingh 69), Routledge (Asoro 68). Unused substitutes: McBurnie, Benda, McKay, Fulton.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Fry, Ayala, Flint, Friend (Shotton 32), Saville, Downing, Clayton (Fletcher 55), Mikel, Howson, Hugill (Assombalonga 55). Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, McNair, Tavernier, Besic.

Referee: A Woolmer (Northamptonshire).