After a bit of a dip in form, Tony Pulis and George Friend believe Middlesbrough can use the current international break to regain some form and fitness.
‘We’ll be right back at it and working really hard’
Speaking about Middlesbrough’s fitness and the need to recover, Pulis stated:
“Those lads on international duty left straight away to be wherever they need to be in all the different countries.
“The rest of us got a day or two to recover from the last game and the games that we’ve been playing – then it is back down to work.
“We’ll be right back at it and working really hard.”
George Friend also commented upon Boro’s need to regain full fitness:
“The manager sees this break as a chance to really push on physically.
“He will want to keep those incredibly high levels of fitness up because we worked so hard in pre-season to get there and we don’t want to let them drop.
“I think we all want to bounce back for the Sheffield Wednesday game far better than we did at Norwich after the last international break.
“That will be the focus: to be fully fired up and ready to go.
“It won’t be all physical.
“The manager always manages to get a lot of shape work in there too.
“Even with a lot of the players away we can work on tactics. That’s very important.
“The manager puts a lot of emphasis on shape and we will do a lot of work on that in our different units and as a group.
“Tactically you might have to wait until the whole team are back before you can work on match specifics but you can do more general work on shape and that is always useful.”
Middlesbrough’s dip in form
Middlesbrough had a superb start to the season.
Their first game of the season saw them come from behind to draw 2-2 with Millwall.
This was followed by wins vs Sheffield United, Birmingham, Bristol and West Brom.
Boro were then able to take away a point from a trip to high flying Leeds.
Since then, however, Boro’s form has taken a dip.
They have lost to Norwich, drew with Swansea, drew with Hull and lost to Nottingham Forest.
All of those games were winnable for Boro and they will be hoping this international break does indeed help them regain the form they showed earlier in the season.