Tony Mowbray sick of Middlesbrough playing well and losing

Middlesbrough have scored 12 goals in eight Championship games and won just one of them. Queens Park Rangers have eight in eight, and it has taken them top of the league.

Tony Mowbray
Tony Mowbray

It is why Boro manager Mowbray is on the lookout for “two or three players of real quality” before Tuesday’s visit of Huddersfield Town.

But more than anything, he does not want to be hearing another hard-luck story tonight.

“The team’s performed at a consistently good level yet we have been punished,” he reflected. “Last Saturday (when they drew 3-3 with Bournemouth) wasn’t a one-off, we went two-up at Forest and drew as well.

“There are areas of the pitch where we need to work, we need to strengthen, create extra competition for the places in the team.

“Every manager tells me after a match we’re as good as they’ve played, yet we have to start turning these draws into victories.

“If we can do that we won’t be far away.

“We have to do it on the grass, not in the office after the game.

“There’s things for us to work on yet I feel we’re moving in the right direction.”

QPR have won six and drawn two league matches this season, and their ruthlessness is the polar opposite of Middlesbrough’s.

“I’ve watched three out of their four last games,” said Mowbray. “Yeovil were unfortunate last weekend not to get anything, they lost 1-0, Brighton got a 0-0 at Loftus Road where they created chances, Birmingham went there in a tight game (which they lost 1-0). If we can continue scoring, hopefully we can come out on top.

“If you finish anywhere above QPR you have a huge chance of promotion. QPR have been showing how strong they are in the league.

“They’re not free-scoring, of course, they win 1-0 every week, there’s been a huge turnaround of players, the positive for Harry (Redknapp, the manager) is that they had players they could sell or move on, players coveted by other clubs, £12m (from the sale of Christopher) Samba has allowed him to bring some high-quality footballers.

“It’s as tough as we’re going to get, and yet they’re not free-scoring, we’ve scored in every game we’ve played, so if we can keep this run going we’ll have a tight football match.”

His team may be 16th in the table, and the trawl for recruits tells you he is not entirely enamoured with the squad. Generally, though, the mood music from the manager is optimistic.

“I took the positives from how the team played (against Bournemouth), it was a very good passing football performance, to score the goals we did, to create the chances we did, was positive,” said Mowbray. “The only negative was the nature of the goals we conceded.

“It was a culmination of disappointments from the Forest game, we’ve got two points instead of six.

“It’s something we’ve talked about, something we’re working on and it’s something we’ll improve.” Bournemouth went 2-0 up inside 12 minutes at the Riverside last Saturday through two penalties. Boro battled back to take the lead, only for Rhys Williams to be sent off and Jonathan Woodgate score an own goal in the final ten minutes.

“The players are a fantastic group, they’re very positive, I don’t need to do anything with them other than prepare for the next game,” said Mowbray. “Footballers don’t need to be told when they’re not doing well. There are plenty of positives to work with, no knee-jerk reaction to drawing 3-3 with Bournemouth.

“You’re always looking for a reaction in the next game win or lose, let’s go to QPR and see how we get on.”

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