Middlesbrough 0 Swansea City 0: Boro chief questions if there are too many fixtures

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Pulis believes tiredness played its part as his side had to settle for a point at the Riverside at home to Swansea City.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis: Pertinent points.

Clear-cut opportunities were few and far between and Pulis was left to bemoan the number of fixtures that teams have to play in the Championship compared to the Premier League.

While it is the same for all their rivals he thinks the quality can suffer at times because of just how often the clubs at that level have to play a midweek game.

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After beating Bolton 2-0 on Wednesday, Middlesbrough could not break down Swansea on Saturday and Pulis said: “Were we as bright and sparkly? I am not sure.

“I was last in the Championship working 11 years ago. You look at it now and there are more quality players, playing in better stadiums, the pitches are better, the quality is better, and there are better players who are playing international football.

“And yet we are asked to play eight more games than the Premier League. Someone has to look at it, to ask players to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday... you look at the top teams, you ask their managers if there’s a little tiredness in there.

“This league has pushed on, it is better in every way shape or form, but to ask them to play eight games extra, it’s a lot of games compared to the Premier League.

“We have had the opportunities and chances again here, you need that spark in the final third to get what we needed. We had the chances in first half and second half, but we needed a break.”

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Flint, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Saville (Besic 59), Downing (McQueen 73), Assombalonga (Hugill 69), Braithwaite. Unused substitutes: Batth, Konstantopoulos, McNair, Fry.

Swansea City: Mulder, Roberts, van der Hoorn, Rodon, Olsson, Naughton, Grimes, McKay (Dyer 78), Byers (Carroll 46), Routledge (James 61), McBurnie. Unused substitutes: Nordfeldt, Carter-Vickers, Fulton, Dhanda.

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).