Brentford v Middlesbrough: Pulis gives ‘boring Boro’ a mental exam

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich. (Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire)
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich. (Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire)
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MANAGER Tony Pulis has baulked at suggestions that Middlesbrough are defensively obsessed.

Boro’s rearguard have let in just eight goals in 17 Championship games, representing the best goals-against record in the EFL, with the Teesside club the only side still to boast a single-digit figure in terms of league concessions this season.

But Pulis believes that criticism of a perceived lack of attacking enterprise – and a rehashing of the ‘Boring Boro’ tag that stuck to Jack Charlton’s class of the mid-seventies – is wide of the mark and simplistic.

Pulis observed: “I think people forget we have got the second best goal difference in the league, which goes amiss.

“We are also in the top six in terms of chances created in the table as well and do not just sit back and wait and hope that we get a clean sheet.”

Amid the start of the winter grind, which is the time of the season that often separates the promotion wannabes from the firm contenders, Boro players were sent to RAF Leeming for a two-day team bonding camp.

I think people forget we have got the second best goal difference in the league, which goes amiss.

Tony Pulis

Pulis hopes that the lessons learned in terms of focus and togetherness come in handy during a key spell in the season.

He said: “It takes the players out of their comfort zone. It was not a physical two days, but more a mental one where they were given problems to solve rather than running around a pitch.

“We also tried to get them more together as a group. In the modern world, with that square thing (telephone) that everybody uses all the time, sometimes you forget to talk to one and other.

“It is important people communicate and when they were there,their phones were taken away from them, so they had to concentrate on working together as a group.”