Middlesbrough’s form has dropped in recent games and that has seen them drop to ninth in the league, albeit still only three points away from the play-offs with a game in hand on the three teams above them.
Middlesbrough have failed to win any of their last four games and of their recent losses, three of the four have come against teams above them, so they will be pleased that their four remaining games come against teams who sit below them in the table and have nothing to play for, as this means they still have a chance to reach the play-off spots.
Despite their poor form, Boro manager Chris Wilder feels his side haven’t drastically lacked in quality, as he told Teesside Live: “I will have to analyse it and go right through and find solutions. Whether it’s personnel for next year, whether it’s the way we play – although I don’t want to change too much because for the majority of the time it’s got us results and performances.
“I don’t feel it was a horrific performance [against Huddersfield on Monday]. I don’t look at it and think he was terrible, he was terrible etc. But we’re clearly not doing enough around both penalty areas where games get decided. In the three home games, the opposition have defended better than us when they’ve had to, and they’ve ultimately decided the game.”
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Boro are also without goals at the moment, having not scored a goal in their last four games but nonetheless, Wilder is keen not to put the blame solely on his strikers as he said: “I don’t think it can all be chucked on the centre forwards. It’s the quality behind them as well. We get into some great positions, we move and work the ball into positions that I want us to, and then you look at that quality in the final run, pass, cross and finish.
“You can’t talk about the finish and the players missing chances if the final pass or cross or run is not right. I think it’s a culmination of everything with everybody. How many times did we get into good positions and Dijksteel crossed it behind the goal, Bola crossed it behind the goal, Jonah hit the first man, etc. That’s nothing to do with the forwards, that’s the supply behind them. They’re the money balls where you’re looking to get into those areas and then find that quality.”
Middlesbrough’s form of late has been really poor but the emphasis from Wilder that it is not solely on the shoulders of the strikers is more likely to allow them long term success, as it ensures they are focusing on improvement across the pitch.
Given they now have an easier run of games to face, it is possible for Middlesbrough to make the play-offs especially with their games in hand. However, given they have faced a poor run of form against the teams higher in the league they will really have to up their performances if they are to succeed in the play-offs.
With four games left to go, Wilder will be hoping his team can pick up their form and improve their performances throughout in one last play-off hope.