So far under Garry Monk this season Middlesbrough have been inconsistent to say the least.
Boro’s record vs teams in the top 17 places in the Championship is pretty disappointing as it shows 13 games played with only two won.
On the other hand Middlesbrough’s record vs clubs which are strugglers and sit in the bottom seven positions in the table this season reveals that Boro have played six, won six.
Boro had a big opportunity to restore some confidence and build some momentum and keep pushing up the table, but they had not answers on the weekend to Gary Rowett’s Derby County side who comprehensively beat Boro 3-0 with the result never in doubt.
Boro always seem to make it difficult for themselves by not showing up in big games like games against the promotion chasing Derby County this past weekend.
Middlesbrough need to start delivering quality performances in their matches with their key promotion rivals but they lack consistency.
Looking back at last week Boro played in mid-week and solidly beat Birmingham City 2-0 but then on the weekend they went down to a resounding 3-0 thumping at the hands of Derby County who are likely to be fighting it out at the top of the table with Boro if Monk can right the ship.
The dismissal of Boro’s defender Ayala who also gave away a penalty in the first half to give Derby the lead was a turning point as rarely do teams win with only 10 men and Derby were able to play more confidently after the second goal goes in and then Ayala saw red and was dismissed for a ridiculous challenge on David Nugent with referee Simon Hooper not hesitating to give the Boro man his marching orders.
“This was a big opportunity for us,” revealed Ben Gibson in a typically honest interview with the Northern Echo,
“It was our first chance for a while to really take a big step and put ourselves in the mix. We’ve let it slip by and wasted it, and you can’t afford to do that in this league.
“We just haven’t been able to take that next step forward. You look at this game, and it was a massive opportunity to put ourselves right in the mix. If we’d won here, we would have won five out of six, and people would have been looking at us and saying, ‘Right, they’re on a really good run now’.
“We’ve wasted that opportunity. The season is not over and there’s still a hell of a long way to go, but if we are going to achieve anything, we have to change something now. We have to eradicate these mistakes. I can’t fault the lads’ work ethic or attitude, it’s quite simply individual mistakes, and that’s something we have to stop.”
“We’re honest with each other in there,” added England man Ben Gibson. “You have to have that. I’m not going to say who says what, but people in there talk, of course they do. We set standards and we have leaders in there who demand certain standards and a certain level of play.
“We have to demand more of each other, and that starts now. We have to go home, look at ourselves in the mirror, and make sure we get more out of each other and ourselves because that’s not good enough. It’s not what this club expects, and it’s not what this club deserves.”
So Garry Monk needs to get his side to deliver more consistent performances for the rest of the season and to cut out the individual mistakes as they showed only last season that they could mix it with the big boys in the Premier League. We shall see how they get on this weekend vs Bristol City away at Ashton Gate against an in-form Bristol City side who are 5th in the table just 2 points ahead of the Rams in 6th place