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36 minutes, 4 duels won, 1 goal: The Middlesbrough man who made Jose Mourinho and Tottenham sweat in FA Cup



It was a night where Middlesbrough so nearly pulled off the ultimate comeback.

Tottenham were favourites from the off and showed their quality after ruthlessly taking a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes in the FA Cup third round replay.

Jose Mourinho’s side rarely looked like letting their lead slip – at least until one of Jonathan Woodgate’s substitutes changed the momentum of the game in their favour.

George Saville was brought on in the second half as Middlesbrough looked to gain control of the game, and the midfielder certainly did that.

The former Millwall man has been in excellent form in recent weeks and after a slow start to his Middlesbrough career is now showing exactly why the Teessiders were so keen to bring him North 18 months ago.

But what made George Saville’s display against Spurs so special? We take a look at the numbers behind his impressive second half display.

Middlesbrough’s first half performance against Tottenham Hotspur was really poor.

It doesn’t matter that they were playing last season’s Champions League finalists – the Teessiders’ problems were almost entirely of their own making.

At 2-0 down there was always an outside chance that Jonathan Woodgate’s side might be able to find a way back into it and it was George Saville who very much led that charge.

The midfielder only played 36 minutes against Jose Mourinho’s side but arguably contributed more than any of the original 11 members of the starting XI.

Middlesbrough had struggled to keep possession before his introduction but a pass completion rate of 75% set the away side on their way in the second half.

Saville’s combative nature in the middle of the park was key to turning the tide against Spurs and that can be seen in his statistics from the game.

According to Wyscout, Saville won four duels, made three interceptions and achieved an impressive four recoveries in the opposition half.

That was key as the midfielder pressed the Tottenham defence higher up the pitch which allowed a swift transition from defence to attack.

Saville was comfortable on the ball as well as he completed one successful dribble from midfield.

But in addition to his midfield duties the former Chelsea prospect seemed to have his shooting boots on.

How much attention have you paid to Middlesbrough this season? Let’s find out!

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The 26-year-old sent an effort from range narrowly over the crossbar as Middlesbrough tried to find a route back into the game, before a second long-range effort which had a more positive outcome.

Breaking out of midfield Saville burst forward and cutting onto his weaker right foot he placed an effort from all of 25 yards into the bottom corner of Paulo Gazzaniga’s net.

It may not have been a strike that started a dramatic comeback, but Middlesbrough supporters were absolutely delighted with his display and after attracting criticism earlier in the season it seems that George Saville’s value is really starting to make itself known.

North East-based EFL writer and aspiring author

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 36 minutes, 4 duels won, 1 goal: The Middlesbrough man who made Jose Mourinho and Tottenham sweat in FA Cup

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