Tony Pulis was pleased with Boro’s win at Brentford after a ‘tough’ international break – but has bemoaned the manner in which his team conceded.
Boro’s two-week break from the Championship involved a trip to RAF Leeming, which was intended as a method of team bonding as the football calendar approaches a mentally challenging festive period.
And it seemed to pay dividends against Brentford, as Pulis’s side showed their grit to take three points back to Teesside.
Jordan Hugill opened the scoring just shy of the hour mark, tapping home after good, tenacious work from Jonny Howson.
Marcus Tavernier then doubled the lead a few minutes later. Dael Fry whipping in an inch perfect cross, which was met by the 19-year-old to head home.
Pulis was far from happy with the way Boro conceded though, bemoaning a lack of concentration in the build up to Judge’s goal.
“We gave a sloppy goal away from a corner kick,” Pulis told Boro’s website after the game. “We can’t be switching off like that.
“Two of our players aren’t even watching the ball, they’re turning around waiting for the whistle to go. You’ve got to be aware.
“That was disappointing because, up until that point, they had a few chances from outside the box that Dazza (Darren Randolph) has saved.
“I thought overall we had the better chances.”
Pulis’s criticism perhaps comes as a result of such high standards from an experienced manager whose defensive stability is a hallmark of his game.
And before the game, Boro hadn’t conceded a single goal from a corner. That was, until Judge’s strike nestled into the corner of the net.
Pulis though, wasn’t having it.
“Yeah, I don’t class that as a goal from a corner,” he said. “It’s not one that’s gone into the box, it’s one that they’ve played around us and that shouldn’t happen.”
Jordan Hugill scored his third goal in two games, whilst Marcus Tavernier bagged his second goal of the season – and the Boro boss was pleased with the efforts of both.
“I’ll take three of them every week!” Pulis said on Hugill’s goal. “He worked tirelessly, he got tired at the end – but one or two of them did as well.
“They’ve had that fortnight off, that travel, everything involved in it. It’s a long day, Saturday.
“You see the results coming through, mentally and physically it’s very difficult at times these games.
“It was lovely to see the first goal go in. I was really pleased that Tav (Marcus Tavernier) got the second goal as well, he’s worked so hard.
“I’d decided earlier in the week that I wasn’t going to play Martin (Braithwaite) and I was going to play Tav.
“Martin had been away, and I know Mo (Besic) has as well but it’s different with midfielders as opposed to forward players and wide players, especially with the work rate we expect from ours.
“But I thought Tav was very, very good and I was pleased for him.”
Boro have a typically quick Championship turnaround and face Preston on Tuesday night.
“I’ve just said to them ‘be as quick as you can – let’s get on that bus’, because as much as I’m pleased with the performance, it’s just setting your mind for Preston, which is going to be another really tough game.”