Middlesbrough are still failing to spark – and they have slipped to 11th in the Sky Bet Championship table following Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Brentford.
Garry Monk’s men again flattered to deceive with a performance derided by fans and pundits alike, although they are only four points adrift of the play-off places.
Midfielder Adam Clayton felt that the one positive for Boro was twice coming from behind to at least avoid a second successive home defeat.
“It wasn’t the performance we wanted,” confessed Clayton. “But we’ve proved we can come back into games, which is something we’ve struggled with before when going a goal down.
“Every side is going to come here to the Riverside and up their game so we have to up ours.
“The Championship is an unforgiving league, so it’s up to us to do what we need to do.”
Brentford took the lead just before the half-hour when Yoann Barbet nodded in Ollie Watkins’ delivery.
Boro fought back after the restart to level through summer signing Martin Braithwaite in the 68th minute, only for Watkins to reclaim the lead four minutes later.
Boro, who have fallen behind in each of their last four matches, earned a point when full-back Fabio da Silva arrived to convert at the back post with 14 minutes to go.
Boss Monk said: “The intention of the players is clear, they want to go and do the right things, strangely I sense a bit of anxiety in them.
“It led to certain mistakes with the ball, the goals we conceded were from our own doing. A set-piece for the first, probably the first we have conceded from a set piece.
“Credit to them getting back into it again and maybe even nicking a winner again.
“Perspective, though, because we have lost one in nine. Yes, we want more, yes, we want more in the performance, but we have lost one in nine.
“The last international break we talked about needing improvements and they came, this international break we need to look to correct and make further improvements.
“We need to come out firing like we did last time.
“Our crowd has been great, the players are fully committed, the intention is clear. I can say that honestly.
“We have spoken about having more confidence, of course we see that and we will work on those things during the break. That’s when we do get the chance to work hard on those.”
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Shotton, Gibson, Da Silva, Traore (Fletcher 46), Howson, Clayton, Johnson (Bamford 64), Assombalonga, Braithwaite (Baker 79). Subs: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Leadbitter, Fry. Booked: Christie, Randolph, Bamford. Goals: Braithwaite 68, Da Silva 76.
Brentford: Bentley, Dalsgaard, Mepham, Barbet, Henry (Clarke 36), Mokotjo (Sawyers 73), Woods, Yennaris (McEachran 73), Jozefzoon, Maupay, Watkins. Subs not used: Archibald, Shaibu, Daniels, Sorensen. Booked: Dalsgaard, Maupay, Watkins. Goals: Barbet 29, Watkins 72.
Att: 24,545. Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)