True char­ac­ter shown by bat­tling Boro - Pulis

Sunday Sun - - Football - Philip Tal­len­tire

TONY Pulis has praised the char­ac­ter of his team af­ter they bat­tled their way to three points at Birm­ing­ham.

The Boro boss also re­vealed he had a new in­jury con­cern to con­tend with fol­low­ing a bruis­ing St An­drew’s en­counter.

Garry Monk’s Blues went into the game hav­ing lost just two of their pre­vi­ous 19 home matches but Mid­dles­brough put in a fine fight­ing dis­play to win 2-1 and close the gap on sec­ond place in the ta­ble to just four points.

Lewis Wing put the vis­i­tors ahead in the first half be­fore Che Adams equalised af­ter the break but sub Britt As­som­ba­longa scored a dra­matic late win­ner af­ter latch­ing onto Wing’s fine through ball.

Boro have picked up some im­pres­sive wins on the road this sea­son and Pulis said: “It’s some­thing about the char­ac­ter of the team, there’s re­ally good char­ac­ter in the team and we had to show it sec­ond half.

“First half we were the bet­ter team, sec­ond half when we had to dig in we dug in, and it was a great re­sponse to get the goal.

“We would pre­fer to be win­ning at home than away but our away form is good and this is a dif­fi­cult place to come.”

Birm­ing­ham had a penalty ap­peal turned down but Pulis be­lieves his team were de­nied two stonewall spot­kicks.

“I thought first half we were by far the bet­ter team,” he said.

“I think we should have had two penal­ties. The one off the cor­ner where Ge­orge is pushed is, well... And the goal­keeper’s chal­lenge (on Sav­ille) is a def­i­nite penalty.

“In­stead of be­ing 1-0 at half-time we de­served to be 3-0 up at least. We missed other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Sec­ond half they played very di­rect, I’ve noth­ing against that, that’s the way they do it, they’ve got two good for­wards up there who put you un­der enor­mous pres­sure and we de­fended for our lives. When they get the goal you think that it’s go­ing to be tough and then it’s a great through ball from Wingy and Britt’s fin­ished with aplomb.

“Britt, he knew he was go­ing to get 30 min­utes to­day. Up there play­ing against those cen­tre-halves - for Jor­dan Hugill to last 90 min­utes was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult and Britt’s at­ti­tude was very good.

“I’m re­ally pleased, pleased with the three points.”

Go­ing into the game, Pulis was un­able to select Aden Flint and Ryan Shot­ton due to in­jury and Boro suf­fered two fur­ther fit­ness prob­lems at Birm­ing­ham.

“Wingy picked up a lit­tle knock,” ex­plained the Boro boss. “That’s why we took him off but I think he will be okay.

“Sav­ille has got a lit­tle ab­duc­tor strain I think but all-in-all, in what was a pretty bruis­ing game at times I think the lads are okay.”

New Year’s Day sign­ing Ra­jiv van La Parra was named among the subs but didn’t get on.

Pulis is hope­ful of mak­ing one or two more ad­di­tions to his squad be­fore the win­dow closes at the end of Jan­uary.

With re­gards to re­cruit­ing more play­ers, he said: “We’ll see what hap­pens.

“We are nearly half­way through the win­dow so we’ll see what hap­pens over the next cou­ple of weeks.”

■ Man­ager Tony Pulis and Britt As­som­ba­longa cel­e­brate at the end of the match at St An­drew’s Tril­lion Tro­phy Sta­dium

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