Pulis ques­tions size of Cham­pi­onship

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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.

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).

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