Tony Mowbray is refusing to prod the panic button despite a run of eight games without a win that has left Middlesbrough near the Championship basement.
Boro’s midweek draw with Huddersfield was typical of their form this season, with Mowbray’s struggling team playing well without applying the killer touch that would bring three very welcome points.
Defensively they are conceding too many simple goals and while they are creating chances, they are not being nearly ruthless enough for Mowbray’s liking. Now they take on Yeovil with Mowbray certain that things will eventually click for his Boro side.
“Every game is a must-win game in football these days,” he said.
“It’s the next game, one we target to win. Let’s wait and see.
“Yeovil are a very hard-working, honest side, you look at their record this year, they’ve only picked up points away from home, they’ve not won at home.
“We try to set our teams up to be positive, we try to attack, try and score goals, try and entertain. I’ve always done that and I will continue to do that. We are looking to strengthen defensively, to create competition, having identified the issues goes a long way to solve the problem.
“If we were sitting here bamboozled by why we can’t win matches we’d have a problem. But we know the problems, and we’re trying to rectify them and trying to improve the players every day. If we can bring in others to help, then that’ll be great and I’m sure we’d improve.”
Boro were rescued on Tuesday by young defender Ben Gibson, who nodded the equaliser against the Terriers. Mowbray has urged him to take his opportunity to impress.
He said: “Sometimes in the adversity of injuries, players get opportunities, and Ben hasn’t gone out on loan this season, because we can see the improvement, see the physical development the boy has got as he has reached 20.
“It’s still a delicate age, at this level, to be a regular in the team, and yet he got an opportunity and he’s grabbed it. He did very well at QPR despite a ridiculous penalty against him, he scored a great goal on Tuesday night, he’s honest, brave, all the qualities you’d want from a central defender.
“I know he’ll have a long and successful career but let’s hope in the next few weeks he can play his part and help pick up some victories.”
Mowbray also absolved Mustapha Carayol of any blame in the Huddersfield game, confirming that the winger had apologised for his performance against the Terriers. He will have the freedom to roam against Yeovil, with Mowbray offering him the chance bury midweek memories against the Devon side.
He said: “Muzzy verbally apologised to us on Tuesday night and he didn’t need to. Muzzy’s a winger. And wingers, throughout the history of football, have been brilliant then anonymous. The nature of their game brings an inconsistency.
“I thought our best moments were from Muzzy driving through the midfield, driving at their back four looking to slip someone in, he had a fantastic shot which their keeper made a great save from, yet there were moments where he lost the ball or ran down blind alleys.
“I fully understand the qualities he brings, there’s no need to apologise to anybody because he can win us football matches as well as have bad nights.”