Millwall manager Neil Harris believes Middlesbrough have ‘massively underachieved’ so far this season.
Boro were many bookies pre-season favourites to bounce straight back from relegation but find themselves in eighth place – five points outside the play-offs and a substantial twelve from the automatic promotion places.
And Harris believes a lack of consistency has played a part in their below-par season so far.
He told News Shopper: “They’ve probably been a little bit inconsistent. They had a really good start then tailed off a bit and then they won some games, lost a couple and came back with a good win and performance last week.
“So, what’s not lost on us as a group is that they spent £46m in the summer. So there’s absolute quality throughout their squad, certainly in the attacking areas.
“It’s a side that have underachieved being eighth in the division, massively underachieved.
“They should be comfortably in the top six if not top two. It’s easy to say that because they’ve spent a lot of money they should be top of the league. It doesn’t always work like that in football.
“Sometimes you build small steps to build for the future. Boro have spent big money to recruit personnel that are established at this level. That’s what makes them such a difficult opponent.”
Boro come into Saturday’s game looking to push on from last week’s win over Ipswich – and Lions boss Harris is expecting a difficult game against Garry Monk’s side.
“We know it’s going to be a test – they’re a dangerous away side. They’ve got a massive amount of pace on the counter-attack.
“It’s going to be another game where a team will come to the Den and try to keep the ball.
“With our next two home games against Middlesbrough and Wolves – it’s going to be like another Reading and Sheffield United to a certain extent – where they have a lot of the ball.
“We’re going to have to be patient and we’ll need the crowd to be patient with us and encourage the players to do what they’re good at.”
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