Middlesbrough were dealt their 6th defeat in as many games on Saturday as they were pushed aside by a defiant Swansea City side at the Liberty Stadium.
Two first-half goals from Matt Grimes and Wayne Routledge took the game away from Boro, with a 77th-minute strike from Connor Roberts guaranteeing all three points for the home side.
George Saville pulled a goal back for Boro with his 80th-minute strike, that goal proved to be a mere consolation as Swansea recorded a comfortable win.
Despite coming into this fixture under severe pressure, Pulis decided to gamble with his team selection as he left strikers Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga on the bench, with Jordan Hugill the sole striker for the goal-stricken Teessiders.
Twenty eight minutes into the game and with Swansea enjoying a comfortable 2-0 lead, it became crystal clear that the gamble backfired for the former Stoke City manager.
“I was really disappointed with the first half,” said Pulis. “I just thought the way we played it wasn’t until five minutes into the second half that we got hold of the game.”
“Even then Swansea caused us problems on the break. Out of all the games we had left this season, this was the one I was more worried about than all the others.”
“Don’t forget they were a Premier League side last season. The players didn’t perform to the level they are capable of and they’ve got to be bigger and better than that.”
“The players have just got to pick themselves up. We’ve had a good chat about it and it’s not about me believing we can make the playoffs, it’s up to the players.”
Adam Clayton believes Season “is not over”
Despite admitting that the confidence is low among the fans and the team, the midfielder believes that all the team needs a spark to get back on winning terms.
“We know we have to try to get that win as soon as possible to get us back up and running and hopefully, that will be at Bolton” said Clayton.
“If we can get do that and start a good run then we can go make up that gap, get into the top six and be a force in the playoffs.”
"For us, by no stretch of the imagination is it over or do we think we can’t make it. We can."