Frustrated Aitor Karanka is convinced Middlesbrough will end their goal drought this weekend.
Boro have gone five games without scoring and have slipped to ten points shy of the Championship play-offs ahead of today’s clash with Leeds.
Karanka, though, is certain their fortunes will change. “I am confident something different will happen this weekend,” he said.
“We have been working hard this week because when you do not score goals you have to work hard during the week to change things.
“I don’t want the players to be obsessed by the situation.
“If we play well and create chances the goals will arrive. I don’t want my players to be obsessed by what has been happening.
“It is frustrating. Over Christmas, I could see the team I had and where it was going. When the team showed me that level I was very happy.
“At the moment, we are not playing at that level and when I see the team now I am disappointed and frustrated.”
Karanka is convinced Middlesbrough are in a “better place” than they were when he took them for the first time against Leeds.
He added: “We are in a much better place now. We have been working here for three months now and there has been progress.
“It is not just me, I think everyone can see the way the team has progressed.
“We lost a lot of games at the beginning because we were making stupid mistakes.
“We had a month which was very good, with good performances against some of the teams at the top of the league. The last few matches have not been so good, but that does not remove all the good work we have been doing.
“The team is not playing all that well at the moment, but we just need to recover our style.
“Once we do that, I am sure the improvement will continue.”
Karanka went on: “The players have been listening to what I want from them. They know my philosophy and they are joining in with it. The problem I have is we are training very well but for some reason those things are not being translated into the games.
“Some of the players do not do in games what they do in the training sessions. We need to change that and when we do we will win the games for sure.
“I don’t think it’s the pressure of a match situation which is having an effect, I just think we have players who are not playing at 100 per cent and the team is suffering as a result. It is up to them to change that.”
Dani Ayala and Rhys Williams remain long-term absentees but Karanka is convinced his team can cope with the absence of Ben Gibson, who is suspended.
He said: “Rhys and Dani are still a long way off. They are long-term injuries, but we have other defenders and we will have to play with them.”