Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis decided to take the rare decision of starting two strikers up top when his side faced Newport County in their FA Cup fifth-round replay in Wales on Tuesday night, but his pre-match comments via The Gazette suggest it is something that won’t be repeated anytime soon.
The 61-year-old has often chosen to play a formation that only incorporates one striker so far this season, but with Jordan Hugill in form and Britt Assombalonga coming off of the substitutes’ bench and scoring a brace in the 3-2 win against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, he obviously thought Tuesday was an ideal opportunity for an experiment.
It wasn’t one that paid off on a poor night for the Teesside outfit, and the experienced Welshman was quick to have his say on the decision post-match.
According to quotes via The Gazette, he said: “We’ve got the best away record in the Championship. The majority of away games we’ve been very good. Today was a different challenge, different conditions and we didn’t cope with it.
“I came here to be strong, to give us a chance, play with two up front but it just wasn’t to be. They were better than us.”
Pulis has always been known as something of a conservative manager and you know if you are watching one of his teams that they generally aren’t going to be free-flowing from an attacking point of view.
That is backed up by the fact that Boro have scored 34 goals and conceded just 22 in their 29 Championship matches this term thus far, and he will know that his team will be more defensively stable – especially on the road – if they only play with one striker.
The fact that the 61-year-old pointed out that his side have the best away record in the league proves that he probably isn’t willing to change his ways to entertain the fans more, and the Riverside Stadium faithful shouldn’t expect to see two up top anytime again soon following their FA Cup disaster.
Thogden has ranked his top 5 sets of Championship away fans for Pl>ymaker FC. Did your club make the list? Find out in the video below…