Boro must earn all their vic­to­ries

TAL­ENT ALONE ISN’T ENOUGH

Sunday Sun - - Football -

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.

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