John Mikel Obi and his Middlesbrough teammates were given Sunday as a rest day to clear their heads after they were beaten 3-1 by Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts went ahead in the 34th minute from the penalty spot converted by Matt Grimes and Wayne Routledge made it 2-0 to the Swans four minutes later, as Boro struggled to keep their shape.
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Boro came out more determined in the second half with intent to salvage something from the game in order to keep their championship play-off ambition alive rather it was Connor Roberts who added the 3rd goal for Swansea after collecting a perfect pass from Bersant Celina who had also set up Routledge’s goal.
However, Boro grabbed a consolation goal in the 81st minute through George Saville.
Boro has now lost six games in a row including a loss against Bristol City, Norwich City, Aston Villa Preston North End and Brentford, conceding 9 goals and scoring two in the process.
The Tony Pulis side is 8th on the Championship log with 58 points in 40 matches played, 26 points below table toppers Norwich.
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After the long trip back from Wales on Saturday night, Middlesbrough’s players were given the option as to whether or not they wanted to train at Rockliffe on Sunday.
A day off was scheduled, with manager Tony Pulis urging the players to “clear their heads” after the defeat at the Liberty Stadium, Boro’s sixth consecutive defeat.
But the manager revealed that a handful of the players had made it known to him that they wanted to go into Rockliffe for a light warm-down session before attention turns to the trip to struggling Bolton on Tuesday night.
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Boro flew back to Teesside after the game on Saturday night and the mood in the camp was bound to have been subdued after a disappointing performance and result in Wales.
“They’ve got to pick themselves up, we’ve had a good chat about it,” said the manager afterwards, before revealing how he planned to prepare for the trip to Bolton.
“They’ll have a day off on Sunday to clear their heads. It’s an optional day for them, four or five want to come in and do a little bit but I’ve always been one of them, at this stage of the season, they’re fit and ready to go. I think it’s more a mental thing.
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“Having played so well against Bristol City and to not get anything, it’s that mental scar that goes into next game. They’ve done that at Villa and here where they’ve not performed to the level they’re capable of. They’ve got to be bigger and better.”
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