Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ayala's Goals Are Putting Others to Shame

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ayala's Goals Are Putting Others to Shame

Article excerpt

IT is fantastic that deadly defender Dani Ayala is scoring goals - but some others should have faces as red as their shirts to be trailing him in the charts.

He's a defender and he was out of the team for months but he is still the third top scorer.

Since New Year he has scored six goals and only Patrick Bamford has got more.

If I was a striker or an attacking midfielder I would be ashamed of that.

Those are the guys who are expected to get goals. It is part of their job. And they are not doing it.

Boro's midfield has just not delivered this season. In fact, they haven't delivered for years now.

The so-called attacking, creative players in that department have not got enough assists or goals. They don't have enough impact. They don't win games.

Stewart Downing has played most of the season and at times has been one of Boro's best but he has only scored two goals and he will know that is not good enough.

Jonny Howson arrived as an attacking midfielder who was supposed to play it forward and join the attack. Two goals.

Bernie Grant Leadbitter? Three goals, all penalties. Adam Clayton? Slaven Adam Forshaw? Mo Besic? No goals. That's not good enough.

There is only Adama Traore who has been a threat and that is only since Tony Pulis arrived.

Bernie's Bolt Every midfielder should have a target for the season of five goals or eight or double figures depending which role they play.

The midfield have to chip in. They have to take the weight off the strikers. They have to score. It's part of their job.

Talking of goals, people tell me the season has boiled down to four cup finals.

Well, a few weeks ago they were telling me it was six cup finals. Before that it was eight. And 10.

Time is running out fast and Boro have to start winning these cup finals now.

It is time for the players to step up to the plate, time to deliver. It is time to fight tooth and nail and prove they want to be in the play-offs and are good enough to be there. Up to now Boro have not done that.

Look at Fulham. They have gone 20 games unbeaten. Look at Millwall. They have gone 16 unbeaten. That's what you need to do to if you want to be at the business end of the season.

Boro haven't done that. They have stuttered along, beating the basement boys and then losing to the top sides.

There hasn't been any consistency. I can't remember the last time Boro played well for 90 minutes. They either start slowly and then struggle to get back into games or start well then levels drop in the second half and if you do that then the better teams who do keep their standards and tempo up will score past you somewhere along the line.

As it stands, unless they go out right now and prove differently, Boro are not good enough to go up. …

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