Garry Monk says the quantity AND quality of his squad is pushing Middlesbrough to success on all fronts.
Boro head to Fulham today on the back of an unbeaten run of six matches in league and cup.
Monk’s side are just a point shy of the Championship’s play-off places and only three off the top spot, while they are through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
The manager faces a poser at Craven Cottage after changing almost an entire XI at Aston Villa in midweek and says the squad are making selection a hard process.
“The squad are constantly doing that, not just in matches but on a daily basis,” said Monk. “There is a lot of competition for places and this is a very competive group of players.
“There are always difficult decisions but it’s been like that since the start of the season.
“It’s not always easy for a manager but that’s what you want.
“If you have tough decisions to make then the squad is doing something right.
“The point of having a [big] squad is that the whole squd can contribute over the course of the season, that will be the case here for sure.”
Boro set up a trip to Bournemouth after the manager made 10 changes for the 2-0 and he is likely to make a similar number of alterations at Craven Cottage.
But he refuted any suggestion that he knew his first-choice line-up.
“No such as a best XI,” he said. “That’s why you have a squad and everyone being ready when called upon.
“Everyone who steps onto that pitch has a clear idea of the standard we demand and what we need them to deliver, plus the desire to do it.”
That desire was exemplified by Patrick Bamford who in midweek bagged both goals in the 2-0 win over Villa, but faces losing his place this afternoon.
“It typifies the commitment and attitude of the group,” said Monk. “You’ve seen it from players when they have come in.
“He’s not been the only one to do it, a lot of the players have and are pushing for places. We have to maintain that focus and commitment.”