Hull City v Middlesbrough - Tony Pulis looks for Boro to find attacking edge

MIDDLESBROUGH'S lofty position may suggest they are doing plenty right this season, but not let it be said that Tony Pulis is wholly satisfied.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.

Boro’s defensive statistics are the best in the EFL, with just three goals shipped in nine matches so far this term and seven clean sheets registered.

But the Riverside chief is seeking more ruthlessness in the final third, mindful that Boro have not scored in three of their last four league games.

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Pulis said: “We have looked at all the statistics and if you look at the teams who have been promoted in the past five years from this league, our final third-entries, shots and crosses into the box are up there in that top group.

“What we have got to do is get final touches and where we are lacking is that we are not doing that in the 18-yard box.

“We have got to improve and get people scoring goals.”

The mood music at these rivals could not be more stark with the harmony behind the scenes at Boro – under the stewardship of a lifelong fan and widely-respected footballing figure in Steve Gibson – contrasting with the sense of drift and instability at the KCOM Stadium.

Even though both came down at the end of the 2016-17 season, the optimism is rather more abound on Teesside.

Pulis added: “I think this club has had stability in respect of an owner; a local owner, who understands the game in lots of ways and this club. He knows what is needed to push on.

“There has always been a little bit of instability at Hull, even when they were in the Premiership.

“We are pretty fortunate that we have a chairman who has been here for quite a few years and seen it both ways.”