Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: On the Boro Beat - IN NEED OF NEW YEAR CHEER; Boro under Pressure to Get It Right after Defeat

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: On the Boro Beat - IN NEED OF NEW YEAR CHEER; Boro under Pressure to Get It Right after Defeat

Article excerpt

Byline: By ERIC PAYLOR

BUNGLING Boro put themselves under pressure to deliver in 2008 after an appalling defeat at Birmingham City on Boxing Day.

The setback was a shock to those hardy Boro fans who made the long journey to the Midlands because Boro actually enjoyed the bulk of the possession.

But their woeful play in and around the Blues' penalty area, allied to their dismal defending, handed the points on a plate to the home side.

The manner of the defeat suggests that Gareth Southgate's men will spend much of the rest of the campaign battling to avoid the drop.

If there is hope, it can come only from the transfer market.

Boro desperately need two new goalscoring strikers to get on the end of the team's attacking potential.

Without such experience up front in the second half of the season, then it doesn't look good for the club.

If Boro had enjoyed the luxury of even two journeymen front runners at St Andrews, it would have been a different story.

It doesn't need a pounds 10m man. It just needs experience, scoring nous and graft.

Just think what the likes of James Beattie and Paul Dickov might have achieved for Boro against Birmingham.

In the event, Boro were completely toothless, just as they have been on several other occasions this season.

As soon as the team falls behind, it loses heart because the players do not have the belief that they are capable of getting back into the game.

Gareth Southgate was as angry as he has been after a game this season, but then the onus rests with the manager and his coaching staff to provide the answers.

Suddenly actions are more important than words,.

Southgate was blunt in his criticism of the team after the game and would not accept that Boro deserved a little better as a result of their approach play.

He insisted: "We didn't deserve anything from the game. I thought we were very, very poor in the first half and didn't get out of the traps.

"I've heard people use the phase 'we have turned the corner.' I knew we hadn't and the evidence is there for everyone to see. There is a tremendous amount of hard work to be done. …

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