Middlesbrough urged to make the most of their opportunities by boss Tony Pulis

Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga (right) and Bolton's David Wheater battle for the ball on Wednesday night at The Riverside. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA
Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga (right) and Bolton's David Wheater battle for the ball on Wednesday night at The Riverside. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA
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Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis warned his players they will have to be more clinical if they want to keep up the pressure on Championship leaders Leeds United.

Boro bounced back swiftly from their first defeat of the season when beaten 1-0 at Norwich City on Saturday, seeing off visitors Bolton Wanderers in convicning fashion with goals from George Saville and Britt Assombalonga

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

And while Pulis was understandably delighted with his side’s reaction to their setback in Norfolk at the weekend , he tempered his post-match comments with a word of caution.

“I thought we played really well in the first half, but we’ve got to make sure that we take our chances and the opportunities we get,” said Pulis.

“When we’re in the final third, we’ve got to make sure that the passing and decision-making is better.

“There were two opportunities in the first and second half when we could have played the ball across the goal, but people have shot. If they’d played the ball across the goal, there was someone there who could have tapped it into the net.

We’ve got to make sure that we take our chances and the opportunities we get. When we’re in the final third, we’ve got to make sure that the passing and decision-making is better.

Tony Pulis

“We have people shooting when they can play people in, and for all that we do well, we need people to really be composed in that final third. The opportunities were there today.”

Bolton manager Phil Parkinson felt his players produced a performance Stephen Darby would be proud of.

Parkinson and his players have endured an extremely difficult week after 29-year-old former Bradford City defender Darby was forced to retire because he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Parkinson broke the news to his squad on Monday, and admits there was a sombre mood on the training ground as Bolton’s players prepared for their trip to the Riverside.

“It’s been a tough couple of days for us all,” said Parkinson. “But we’re professionals, and we have to get on with it. I’ve worked with Stephen for a long time, and it was important that we put in a performance that reflected his character. Despite not getting the right result, I thought we did that.”