Acting boss Mark Venus wants to see Boro improve against Watford

IN CHARGE: Acting Middlesbrough manager Mark Venus
IN CHARGE: Acting Middlesbrough manager Mark Venus
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MARK Venus has reiterated the I word ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Watford – improvement.

In his third game in temporary charge of Boro, the visit of The Hornets (kick off 3pm) represents another chance for the Riverside outfit to put their training ground practices into meaningful action.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Blackburn dampened the mood on Teesside following the previous Friday’s 4-0 hammering of Doncaster.

Venus is keen that his side return to winning ways at the first possible attempt, emphasising the requirement for gradual betterment.

He told BBC Tees: “Improvement’s everything in football. Everyone has to improve.

“We have to improve our general standard of play week in, week out in the league to pick up points consistently.

“We can improve in our focus as individuals and as a team.

“I think we can really concentrate on our job and work harder on our basics and I’m pretty sure that that will help us.

“We need to pick our general performances up because if performances improve then hopefully results come with them.

“We need to work from game to game, day to day, week to week, just to try to show improvement.”

Last year’s beaten play-off finalists, Gianfranco Zola’s Watford are positioned seventh in the Championship.

Still harbouring hopes of a return to the Premier League after a six-year exodus, they will be no walkovers, as Venus noted.

He added: “I think they’ve got a decent team.

“I watched their Brighton and Leicester games and, to be honest, they didn’t deserve to lose 3-0 against Leicester.

“They could have won against Brighton, it was a scrappy game.

“They’re well-organised and they have carried on from last year. It will be a big test for our players.”

But assuming the Riverside support is as vocal as they were against Donny a fortnight ago, it should rouse the hosts into gear in doing so giving them confidence.

“I hope the players have got a bit of belief,” said Venus, who admits he is unsure how long he will remain in caretaker charge.

“You will only gain more belief if you can win games against the bigger sides in the league.

“We need to start doing that soon.”