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3 things we clearly learnt about Middlesbrough after their loss v Preston

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Middlesbrough saw the Championship play-offs slip out of their grasp at the weekend, as they were hammered 4-1 by Preston at Deepdale.

Boro needed a win to give themselves any chance of bagging a spot in the top six but saw themselves go behind within 25 minutes of the fixture, Alan Browne giving the home side the lead. Their advantage was doubled ten minutes later thanks to a Dael Fry own goal and it meant there was a deficit to overturn come half-time.

It looked like a comeback might be on the cards when Marcus Tavernier pulled one back but the lead was two again not five minutes later when Emil Riis fired the ball home. The Dane had his second of the game via a penalty towards the end to pile the misery on Chris Wilder’s side.

Now, they’ll have to regroup in the summer and try and go again next season – and here are three things we learnt about the club after their defeat.

1. Middlesbrough need more regular goals throughout their side

It’s self-explanatory and easier said than done but Middlesbrough need to ensure they have players they can rely on to bag the goals for them.

This year, only one player has hit double digit goal figures for the club and that was Matt Crooks, who plays as a midfielder. Not one of their forwards could manage more than eight and most of their forward options are on loan too.

When the side began to trail in the game, Wilder had to scramble to bring on options who could pull the side back into the game. He tried Josh Coburn, Folarin Balogun and Aaron Connolly but not one of them could find the net.

Boro then need to ensure they have a plan when they go behind – and that they can pull someone capable of firing in the goals from off the bench.

The ultimate Middlesbrough end of season quiz – We’ll be impressed if you score above 80% on this

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WHO DID THE CLUB PLAY ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE SEASON?

2. Boro need to hold onto Marcus Tavernier at all costs

Chris Wilder needs to know what players to build around going forward. Every side has their key players, the ones that the rest of the squad should play around and Tavernier is and can be one of those going forward.

He’s been one of their most exciting players this year when on the left flank, in the middle or on the right flank. It doesn’t matter where he plays but he always seems to produce the goods.

With ten goal contributions in 44 league outings, he has been one of their most important players and one of their brightest sparks. He was arguably their best player against North End and was the only one who could get onto the scoresheet too.

At 23-years-old, the potential is there to get even better too – so they need to keep him and work around him.

3. Add some strength to their backline – perhaps in goal

It was a joint disaster for Boro yesterday between the club’s backline and their goalkeeper, as not many turned up and the goals kept on flowing against Preston.

Dael Fry has been solid but was shaky against the Lilywhites and Paddy McNair had a game to forget too. In goal though, Luke Daniels had his second game in a row where he wasn’t at his best. He made an error against Stoke to allow them to score and shipped four against PNE too.

He hasn’t been a bad option – and neither has Joe Lumley – but a solid shot-stopper can go a long way in the Championship and with those two the only options at the club now, it could be worth looking at adding another very good shot-stopper this summer.

Lumley has kept more clean sheets but has played more games – and there are options out there who could replace both.


Writer for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 3 things we clearly learnt about Middlesbrough after their loss v Preston

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