Millwall 2 Middlesbrough 2: We need to sign players this week, admits Pulis

Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough
0
Have your say

Tony Pulis believes Middlesbrough must strengthen their squad before Thursday's transfer deadline after watching his side come from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw at Millwall.

George Friend struck in the seventh minute of time added on to earn a draw at The Den for Middlesbrough but Pulis says his squad are not strong enough to get promoted.

Middlesbrough were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Aston Villa last season and are among the favourites to challenge this season.

But having lost a number of key players this summer, Pulis says the club must buy in order to compete.

He said: "We have to put things in perspective here. If you look at the team we had today compared to the team that ended last season, we're six players down. Ben Gibson, Adama Traore, Roberto Ayala, Patrick Bamford, Muhamed Besic - they're all top players. So that team today was a massive change.

"We know we have to bring players in. That group is not good enough to get us promoted. It's a smashing group but it's not good enough to get us promoted. We need to add to the group."

Millwall dominated for the majority of the game, and led through goals from Aiden O'Brien and Lee Gregory with 87 minutes on the clock.

But with the game coming to a close, Martin Braithwaite poked home from close range before Friend scrambled in from a free-kick in the dying moments.

The home side came out of the blocks quickly, and Ryan Shotton had to be alert to prevent O'Brien converting a cross after just six minutes.

But Middlesbrough failed to learn from that near miss, and when Gregory flicked a throw-in to his strike partner Steve Morison, no one tracked his run onto the return ball.

Gregory found himself in the box and able to cross, picking out the onrushing O'Brien who slammed home.

Things got worse for Boro when debutant Aden Flint gifted Millwall a second goal.

Under no pressure at all, Flint opted to head back towards his goalkeeper, Darren Randolph, despite Gregory lurking in between.

The header lacked pace, and Gregory nipped in, touched the ball under the keeper, and converted into an empty net.

Millwall looked comfortable for the three points until Braithwaite popped up to convert Marcus Tavernier's cross after 87 minutes.

From then on it was just a question of whether the constant aerial bombardment would lead to an equaliser, and it did with the last kick of the game, as Friend latched onto a knock-down and bundled home.

Pulis added: "The players worked very hard. We were very average in the first half. It was only the last 20, 25 minutes that we started to have a go.

"When we did have a go we missed some good opportunities before we scored. We needed a goal and luckily we did."

Opposite number Neil Harris, who led Millwall on an unlikely push for the play-offs last season, was pleased with his side's performance but left frustrated at the end.

He said: "For 88 minutes, I doubt we'll play as well as that again this season.

"That was as good a Millwall performance as you could hope to see, home or away.

"I'll stop short of saying it's men against boys for 88 minutes, but what we did and how we dominated Boro was phenomenal.

"If you don't get the third, fourth, fifth goal, which we could have had, then you leave yourself open to disappointment."