We have to take our chances, says Tony Pulis

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Pulis was left to regret his side’s failure to convert gilt-edged opportunities in either half – from Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher – as they dropped two points in their promotion quest.

Middlesbrough's Ashley Fletcher: Off target.
Middlesbrough's Ashley Fletcher: Off target.

“We scored a goal at a good time at Blackburn recently and we went on to control the game,” he said.

“We needed to do that here, but we didn’t. They set themselves up really, really solid. They changed their shape and certainly got people behind the ball and made it difficult for us.

“We needed that goal, which would have opened the game up, and I’m sure we would have gone on from there.”

Wigan had chances of their own with Sam Morsy being denied early on by a brilliant save from Darren Randolph, and Leon Clarke heading just wide from a cross from Lee Evans in the second period.

But the Teesside club looked the more likely to nick it at the finish, with Fletcher having a late effort chalked off for a blatant push on Cedric Kipre prior to sliding the ball past Jamie Jones.

“The players have given it everything again,” added Pulis. “There’s no easy games in this league, coming to Wigan is not easy – not with the results they’ve had here. But you need to take your chances, and it’s the same old story.

“I saw four occasions when we could have played people in. They’re simple passes and we’re over-playing. When we do get really clear scoring opportunities you’ve got to be scoring them.”

Wigan Athletic: Jones, Kipre, Dunkley, Fox, Byrne, Lee Evans, James, Morsy, Naismith (Jacobs 62), Clarke (Garner 81), Windass (Pilkington 72). Unused substitutes: Gibson, Massey, Olsson, Owen Evans.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Ayala, Shotton, Fry, Howson, Mikel, Besic (Downing 67), Saville, Wing, Assombalonga (Tavernier 81), Fletcher (Hugill 81). Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Clayton, McNair, van La Parra.

Referee: S Martin (Staffordshire).