Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Confidence Desperately Needs a Boost

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Confidence Desperately Needs a Boost

Article excerpt

Byline: PHILIP TALLENTIRE philip.tallentire@reachplc.com @PTALLENTIREGAZ

IF Middlesbrough are to turn around their recent woeful form they need a massive injection of confidence and they need it before the weekend.

Watching Boro in their last couple of matches it's clear the problem is mental as much as anything.

They are good enough to win matches and they are good enough to finish in the top six so what's going wrong? Apart from the tactical return to one up top and five at the back at Aston Villa, Boro have been playing with two up front and committing men forward in recent weeks.

They did against Wigan, and Brentford, and Preston, and Norwich, and Bristol City. They created enough chances to win most of those matches and certainly enough to draw them.

It's a fair point that many of the chances Boro do create don't always result in the opposition keeper having to make a world class save.

But they are still managing to have efforts on goal, which wasn't always the case earlier in the season when Jordan Hugill would be left exposed up front as a lone forward fighting for scraps.

Stats can be used in a variety of ways to prove or disprove a point but they can be useful.

Boro had seven shots on target against Bristol City (plus 16 off target). Against Norwich it was six (and 11 off target), Preston four (18), Brentford six (13) and Wigan just one (14). So in five games that yielded just one solitary point out of 15, Boro achieved 24 shots on target at an average of 4.8 per match. They also had 72 off target at an average of 14.4.

Rounding up those figures, using a 5-1-2-2 system or 3-4-3, Boro have managed an average of around five shots on target and 15 off target per game.

That's near enough 20 efforts on goal per game and just shy of 100 overall.

From that, Boro managed to score just twice. …

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