Boro must earn all their victories
TALENT ALONE ISN’T ENOUGH
NOW is the time for Boro to start to push on up the Championship.
We know that Garry Monk’s squad oozes talent – but it needs to consistently come together so that Boro do not remain adrift of the league leaders.
Few Boro fans would have expected the club being in a position of having to play catch-up, even at this early stage of the season.
However, despite all the expectations and short-priced odds, Boro have not made the full-blooded start which we all expected.
Much has been expounded about the fact that the team is a work in progress and has not yet properly gelled.
Yet most other Championship sides have gelled, and some have created daylight between themselves and Monk’s men.
Not for one minute am I suggesting that Boro will fail to be involved in the final reckoning at the end of the season.
But there’s a need to learn lessons from some of the performances over the past month.
Boro did not impress against Preston, were pushed all the way by QPR, and then were mugged by Norwich.
The bottom line is that Boro must earn the right to win games. They have to outfight opponents in order to out-play them.
Boro ooze quality but it must always be supported by hard running, determination and an unbeatable work-rate.
The return of Martin Braithwaite to full fitness is bound to make a positive difference to the squad.
The Danish international has exceptional individual talents and has a presence on the pitch which can be inspirational.
It appears that Braithwaite will operate primarily as a No.10 or as a wide attacker, which suggests that Monk will primarily set out his stall with just one orthodox striker.
Certainly Britt Assombalonga is the perfect guy for the job, though it’s clear that the former Nottingham Forest goal-getter does not put away every one of his chances.
His work-rate is not under question but sometimes his finishing is inconsistent. Britt wasted a glorious heading chance against Norwich, for example, which would have main
tained Boro’s unbeaten MIddlesbrough have the talent, but the players must begin to gel soon run. All the more reason why Monk needs to include other potential goalscorers in his line-up.
The Boro boss can also call upon front runners such as Ashley Fletcher, Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede, once he returns to the action.
However, even despite these options being available, one would always back Assombalonga to finish as the team’s top scorer. If Boro can dominate games then they will win them. First of all there must be plenty of sleeves rolled up, because talent in itself is not a match-winner at this level.
There’s nothing to suggest that Boro will fail to get it right long before the season reaches its climax.
But it will be good to see the machinery regularly operating at full power from now on.