Em­brace chal­lenge, urges Boro boss Pulis

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -



MAN­AGER Tony Pulis has urged Mid­dles­brough to main­tain their stan­dards af­ter climb­ing back into a Cham­pi­onship play-off spot.

Daniel Ayala’s header 22 min­utes from time earned the win af­ter Ge­orge Friend had can­celled out Mi­lan Djuric’s ninth-minute opener. The tri­umph moved Boro up to fifth af­ter de­feat at Sh­effield United had seen them drop out of the top six.

“First half at Sh­effield United wasn’t good enough, the ap­pli­ca­tion and de­sire was very poor, sec­ond half was fan­tas­tic,” said Pulis.

“We’ve spo­ken about it, not get­ting up­tight, and that’s what the play­ers have to do, em­brace the chal­lenge.

“They’re for­tu­nate lads. These are great games to play in and man­age and that’s the at­ti­tude they must have, roll your sleeves up, puff your chest out and work your socks off when you don’t have the ball. We did that.”

Mid­dles­brough face play-off ri­vals Derby and Millwall in suc­ces­sion and they will have to wait to see if Pa­trick Bam­ford will be fit.

There were 11 min­utes of added time at the end of the first half af­ter Bam­ford was laid out af­ter a chal­lenge from Aden Flint.

Pulis said: “Pa­trick’s in the dress­ing room tak­ing some stick off the play­ers so he’s fine. He went down ei­ther winded or he’s hit his head, but he’s fine.

“I’ve not spo­ken to him or the phys­ios, I’ve just ham­mered him for be­ing soft. Only jok­ing. I have ham­mered him, though.”

Bris­tol are four points off the play­off pace, but man­ager Lee John­son be­lieves they can still get there.

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