Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No End Is in Sight to Boro's Struggles

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No End Is in Sight to Boro's Struggles

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

U NLESS Middlesbrough quickly put right their deficiencies at both ends of the field their current problems will spread, Gary O'Neil has warned.

Having inherited a team one point from the Championship summit, boss Gordon Strachan is presiding over a bottom-half team short on confidence. At St James' Park on Sunday Boro played pleasing football but, without killer instinct up front or security at the back, trudged off 2-0 losers.

As O'Neil acknowledged, table-topping Newcastle United are everything his side is not.

Boro's captain reflected; "It was similar to a lot of our performances recently.

"In between both boxes, I thought we were probably the better side and played the better football.

"We got into better positions, but at both ends of the field we let ourselves down.

"We seem to be lacking a cutting edge, and there is only so long you can keep playing well and not scoring.

"Eventually, it will start to affect everyone.

It is hard for the lads to keep clean sheets when we are not scoring goals. There is so much pressure on the defending when you are not scoring." While Newcastle have kept 13 clean sheets this term, Boro have not shut the opposition out since Gareth Southgate's last match.

Although there is not much difference in terms of goals scored, the Magpies' strikers appear more clinical, and O'Neil added: "I am not really surprised to see how well Newcastle are doing, because they are good at everything we are not.

"They're very good at attacking the opposition, and also very good at keeping clean sheets.

"We are not really doing either of those well at the minute.

"We seem to be better than them in the middle of the pitch, but miles worse at either end.

"We need to address the situation, and I am sure the gaffer is fully aware of what we need to do.

"However, we are getting a bit short on time because we're slipping further and further away. …

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