Tony Mowbray has revealed he will spend the international break looking to bolster his backline.
The under-pressure Middlesbrough boss watched his side thump newly-promoted Yeovil 4-1 to claim the first win this term at the Riverside, but he knows that his defence remains creaky and needs shoring up quickly.
Boro had to claw from behind after skipper Rhys Williams let a harmless-looking header bounce through for Andy Williams to race clear for an opener after just four minutes.
And while the welcome win – their first in seven home games this season – will have relieved some of the mounting pressure on Mowbray, he admits he needs to add quality at the back if Boro are to start climbing the table and keep supporters and the chairman happy.
Boro are among the top scorers in the Championship but only three teams have conceded more than their 18 – and a lot of them have been self-inflicted after blunders.
“Once again we gifted them a goal they didn’t have to work for,” said Mowbray. “You work all day on a shape and organisation and after four minutes you’re 1-0 down. Angry? Why shouldn’t I be?
“We know we maybe need to add some more quality at the back and cut out the individual mistakes that are leading to goals against us.
“We’ve only had one clean sheet all season and that’s not enough if we are to get out of this league, so that is something we have to work on over the next few weeks.
“We have the international break now so I will be spending a lot of time on the phone again trying to get a good defender in on loan .
“We’ve been trying hard to strengthen defensively. We’ve been giving teams goals all season and that has to change, but it’s not easy to get those players in.
“I’ve asked Premier League teams about players who may be their fourth choice defenders and they don’t want to let them go in case they are needed to cover for injuries.
“They will offer you young lads who are maybe 20 years old but that is not what we need right now. We have our own young defender in Ben Gibson and I’d rather give him game time than another club’s youngster.
“What we need is an experienced defender who can add quality to the squad and plug those holes at the back.”
After leaking the early opener Boro responded well and they levelled on eight minutes as Albert Adomah chipped a half-cleared corner back into the box for Grant Leadbitter to squeeze a half-volley through the crowd.
Kie Kamara then hit bar and post in a furious scramble before Boro went ahead on 24 minutes after George Friend was bundled over in the box and although Leadbitter’s penalty was pushed onto the post, Adomah reacted quickly to stab home the rebound.
Boro stretched their lead on 50 minutes as Jacob Butterfield played a one-two with Leadbitter to find space 25 yards out then slammed home a sizzling low shot.
Hoskins then hit the post for Yeovil before Boro wrapped it up on 74 minutes as Kamara headed in from a Mustapha Carayol corner.
The fightback delighted Mowbray, who added: “I’ve got every faith in this team. We have been playing well in recent weeks and we knew it would come.
“I think the ingredients of a decent team are here. We’re not finished building the team, we know that. We’ll keep trying to improve and see where it takes us.”