'Flat display at Villa Park deals major promotion blow'

'Flat display at Villa Park deals major promotion blow'

Tony Pulis’ men were run ragged at the Villa Park as the home side recorded a resounding 3-0 victory to pile more misery on Middlesbrough.

In the aftermath of his team’s listless performance at Villa Park on Saturday, Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis was furious with his players for giving away three ‘shocking’ goals.

Coming into this game on the back of defeats to Brentford and Preston North End, Boro were easily the second best team at Villa Park.

Their hosts taking full advantage of Boro’s slow start scored two first-half goals from Anwal El Ghazi and John McGinn, which were followed by a late Albert Adomah strike, left Boro with only 1 point of the possible 12 in last four league games.

While three defeats on the trot haven’t forced them out of playoff positions, yet, if they continue to play like this then any hopes of playing Premier League football next season would surely fade away.

"It’s been a difficult week, it’s been there for a few days and I thought at the start of the game we looked slow and sluggish" said Tony Pulis.

"We’ve also given away three shocking goals."

Asked why his side wasn’t able to lift themselves for such a massive game, Pulis added: "They were just flat. Everybody was flat in respect to the way the result went in midweek."

"I thought the first 20 minutes we looked really slow and sluggish, we didn't look anywhere near what we can be.

Boro's 3rd defeat in as many games sees them slip 20 points behind league leaders Norwich City, who will be the team visiting the Riverside Stadium once the international break is over in fourteen days' time.  

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