Last night was probably the most entertaining game Boro have been involved in this season.
Unfortunately this was Steve Agnew’s biggest problem.
From the start the balance was wrong. We could not get a grip on the midfield and although Negredo scored after five minutes it was against the run off play. One minute and thirty-five seconds earlier Hull should have scored. It was that brief joyous moment in what was a disaster of an evening.
How can you expect to win games without a solid defence? The old saying "Goals win games but defences win Championships." While of course there was a need for more adventure, more willingness to get forward and support but along with personal errors it turned into a school yard game which played into Hull City hands. The one thing Boro have not added this season with the exception of Adama, who I thought had his best game last night, is genuine pace around the park. Clayton and De Roon are warriors but do not have the pace to get up and back in a 4-4-2 system. Last night’s back four is probably the slowest in the league. Barragan was turned inside out again at right back, Husband lacked match practice and made a very sluggish start. Gibson looked like the pressure got to him. Hometown club, Captain and the occasion, he missed chances to clear the ball where normally he would be rock solid. Now he is allowed the odd mistake. It is a shame for him they happened in this game and the fact he had little support to cover is more alarming. Human error is why we love this game.
So please Steve Agnew, no more 4-4-2, we are too exposed and while our chance to stay up is only slim, it will be zero if we continue to ship goals. 5 scrappy 1 nil is required. I don’t care where the goals come from.
What was said at Half Time?
After getting back into the game by a stroke of luck, De Roon was at least a yard offside, Boro came out devoid of new ideas to get back into a must win game. This is evident in the stats. Yes Hull were tighter but there was no impotence and when the changes came they made little to no impact.
To not even have a shot; even if it was to be blocked/deflected in the second half in a must win game is amazing. We looked a tired outfit in the second half. Unable to string any attack passes together. Fifteen minutes into the second half Guedioura was brought on for James Husband. This was the end. Boro were now narrow and Guedioura could not get up to the speed of the game. The changes had a negative effect and how, HOW!, was he allowed to mark Harry Maguire at a corner?
Recruitment has to be looked at. January should be used to make a difference in the squad. We all know about the former manager’s frustrations in this area. I can completely understand. The three signings; Bamford, Gestede and Guedioura have made little or no impact.
Bamford – 4 sub apps and no goals
Gestede – 2 starts, 7 sub apps and 1 goal
Guedioura - 5 sub apps.
If/when we are relegated we should expect a major exodus of players.
Ben Gibson - £20m
Adama Traore (although I think he would be amazing in Championship) - £15m
Gaston Ramirez - £10m
Alvaro Negredo - Loan not renewed
Victor Valdez - Retires or moves on for one last payday
Viktor Fischer - I would imagine he has higher aspirations
George Friend, Adam Clayton, Adam Forshaw, Plenty of PL suitors
Martin De Roon - Probably at a knock down price
In my opinion the list above will all move on from the club. A major reshuffle will be required, we need to ensure that we have clear targets that will give us the best possible chance of coming back up in what looks to possibly the most competitive Championship ever. If Steve Agnew is going to take us forward he will need the full backing. We need to be a Premier League club. The town deserves it. Steve Gibson deserves it.
Another 7 years in the doldrums is unimaginable, however that is for what happens, if we pull off the great escape, this team needs massive improvement. Pace and goals need to be added with a proper right back (I do acknowledge that we probably haven’t had our full strength back 4 all year).
I am the eternal optimist and will continue to keep the faith for the next 8 games. Hopefully we can get out of this mess. If not the Sun will still rise in the east and set in the west.
UP THE BORO