Tony Pulis was a hugely relieved man on Tuesday as he saw his Boro team register their first win in seven games courtesy of a quick first-half double from striker Ashley Fletcher.
Fletcher, once a schoolboy prospect for Bolton, started the game right from the off after watching the entirety of Boro’s defeat at Swansea from the bench.
The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for Boro as they look to get their floundering campaign back on track to mount a push for the Championship play-off places.
“You get criticised for not playing him on Saturday,” said Pulis after seeing his team managing a morale-boosting victory on Tuesday.
“But he is a young lad who is still growing into his body. People say ‘he is a young lad, he can run around the whole time.’ This is a different level and you have to play the level to understand it.”
“He has got two goals tonight and hopefully he can carry it on. I have been delighted with him. He is a great kid and never dropped his head. He has never been a minute’s problem.”
“Most probably he’s been too nice,” added Pulis. “And he is still too nice a footballer.”
“He gets brushed off a little too easy but that will come. Another two goals will do him a world of good.”
Coming into this game, Boro hadn’t won any of their last six games so victory against Bolton will give Tony Pulis a much-needed breathing space.
“I am just pleased for the players,” he added. “We have had a run of seven games without winning but I don’t think they were six games we deserved to lose.”
“Four of those games we could easily have won. And if we didn’t win them, then we should have picked points up.”
“Tonight though they got their just rewards because they took two of the numerous chances we again created.”
“It’s the same old story. We have got to be more clinical but we got two goals and a clean sheet so I am delighted.”
Middlesbrough, who are currently sitting at 7th place in the Championship table, are just two points short of 6th placed Aston Villa, though the Villains do have a game in hand tonight.