With the exception of an emotional farewell video from Leo this week, which brought a tear to my eye, being a Boro fan right now has me smiling from ear to ear. It’s fair to say that back to back wins is a great feeling, a feeling I had almost forgotten.
It was a disappointing start to the season against Wolves, so picking up a couple of wins has certainly been the best remedy; and our record signing banging in 2 goals makes everything just that little bit sweeter. Goals, we got goals!
For a team that’s expected to struggle, Burton actually played some decent football. They passed the ball well at times and although some of that may have been down to a lack of urgency from Boro in spells, it just highlights that there is a decent standard of teams in this league right from the biggest down to the smallest.
Make no mistake though, it was comfortable in the end and although Burton tried to make a game of it, we had several clear cut chances which on another day could have made the score line 4 or 5. In fairness, it was just nice to see us create some chances, something missing from most of last season.
It’s clear we are still a work in progress but the point is that things are progressing. We’ve seen glimpses of what Garry Monk is trying to do and it’s slowly coming together.
It’s interesting to watch the split of the centre backs and Clayton dropping in between them to pick up the ball while we are in possession; he actually ends up deeper than them at times. It seems that the intention is for him to start the play from deep with a clear view of what’s in front of him; and where necessary, carry the ball forward. It’s an interesting tactic but it really needs both Howson and Forshaw, who have both been a little disappointing so far, to pick up some form to make the linkup play flow a little better.
Bamford needs a shout out at this point as he has been crucial in the last few games to making Monk’s system work. The extra preparation he put in by returning to pre-season early really seems to be paying off. He’s been excellent.
I’m not going to go through every player in the squad, but another player that deserves some praise is Dael Fry. He’s looked really solid alongside Gibbo who clearly has his own work cut out against Burton’s number 10, who put in a cracking performance.
It was a little disappointing to see so many negative, sideways and backwards balls being played but I would presume that we are just trying to build confidence on the ball and just keep possession, as once the players learn each other’s game, we will hopefully go forward with more purpose.
It could be argued that against Sheffield United and Burton Albion, we haven’t faced the toughest of opposition but both teams worked hard against us and there are no easy games in the Championship. We will have to up the intensity against Forest though. They are a tough proposition and if we can get a result there whilst we are still transitioning, that really will be an achievement but we need more urgency.
It’s sure to take time to get where we want to be but slowly things are coming together and once we hit full stride we will be a force. Until then let’s just be patient, enjoy it and if we are picking up points like we have the last few games, we’ve got to be happy with that.
Roll on Forest. Come on Boro.