Middlesbrough picked up a vital win against relegation-candidates Hull City on Tuesday night. Goals from Patrick Bamford and two from Rudy Gestede gave Boro all three-points, and they now sit just two points from the play-offs, whereas Hull remain just outside the bottom three.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has had to endure an up-and-down time since arriving at the club on Boxing Day. He has often seen his side record a comfortable win, followed by a sobering defeat.
The inconsistencies have been what has cost his side from building a strong push into the top six, but this win was needed to ensure that Middlesbrough keep pace with the play-off pack.
Middlesbrough hadn’t scored at home under Pulis in the league until last weekend, as they recorded a 2-1 win over Reading. The Welshman was happy for the goals to continue against Hull, and especially for his strikers to get on the scoresheet.
“We’ve been a little bit shy in front of goal.”, he said. “So for Rudy to get two is great and he could have come off tonight with a hat-trick.”
Gestede had hit the post in the first-half, but followed up that chance with a composed header into the near post, before doubling his tally in the latter stages with a neat flick from Adama Traore’s cross.
Patrick Bamford has not hit the ground running since joining from Chelsea last January, and has only scored two goals so far this season. Pulis believes that this goal will give him the confidence to push on between now and the end of the campaign.
“I thought Patrick Bamford was having quite a poor time in the first half, but then he comes up with that wonderful, wonderful goal, which will give him a lift.”
Alternatively, Hull City are enduring a tough season, and are just outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They were 14/1 for promotion at the start of the season following their relegation from the Premier League. But they have struggled, and manager Nigel Adkins believes that individual mistakes cost them.
“The goals we gave away were dreadful, and if you’re defending like that, you’re never going to win anything.
“We get ourselves back into the game with a great goal from Evandro but then we shoot ourselves in the foot again right on the stroke of half-time.
“We have come away to a good team and played well, but we’ve gifted them three goals and you just cannot afford to do that.”
Middlesbrough play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the Tees-Weir derby on Saturday afternoon. Hull City host Sheffield United at the KCOM, as they look to bounce back.