Tony Pulis pleased with Boro display despite late Leeds equaliser

Tony Pulis was pleased with the effort and application of his Middlesbrough players despite a late sucker punch against high flying Leeds. 

A strong Boro display was rewarded with the breakthrough just after the break when Lewis Wing opened the scoring in front of a bumper Riverside crowd.

They were close to what would have been an impressive three points against Marcelo Bielsa’s side before Kalvin Phillips struck late on to claim a point.

Although disappointed with the late equaliser, Pulis was proud of his players’ performance after a difficult week.

“I thought first half, we were the better team,” he told BBC Tees. “Our midfield players were fabulous. Mikel was the best player on the pitch. Saville, Wingy and Howson linked up brilliantly with Jordan.

“We played some good football, got the wing-backs forward and when we were attacking we were having five or six players in the box and in and around that area, so that was fantastic.

“Second half we tired a little bit. Leeds came more into it as the game went on and we certainly didn’t need to concede a goal from a set play – that really disappointed me.

“How Flinty misses that header again I just don’t know. I’ll have to speak to Aden, he’s got to score there.

“We had other good opportunities. Their keeper has made two good saves and like I said, we had some good play.”

Lewis Wing celebrates his goal against Leeds

Boro’s mid-week preparations were hampered slightly by travel issues following the FA Cup defeat to Newport on Tuesday night.

Engine failure on the airplane they were scheduled to board meant the squad were forced to make the trip back to Teesside on the team coach, and didn’t arrive back until 7am.

“We had a disastrous Tuesday come Wednesday, and for the players to put the effort and performance they’ve put in today was fantastic having travelled from that airport back to Middlesbrough and then recover for this game.”

“The players have got to give the supporters something to shout about, and I think they did today.

“It was lovely to see a full house and hear the atmosphere. The fans make a difference.”

The fourth official added 12 minutes onto the end of the game after a lengthy delay in which Leeds winger Jack Clarke required treatment after taking ill.

Marcelo Bielsa said after the game that the 18-year-old was feeling ‘unwell’ in the second half and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

When asked about the amount of additional time, Pulis said: “The important thing is that fingers crossed, the boy is okay and he recovers because he’s a very talented young player. All our thoughts go to the lad Clarke.”

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