TONY Mowbray is refusing to succumb to the worry of certain Middlesbrough fans given the side’s sub-standard start to the season.
Boro sit in 19th position in the Championship and entertain Yeovil Town tomorrow (kick off 3pm) with an expectant Riversidec Stadium yearning for a first win in nine.
Mowbray is mindful of the murmurs of discontent – Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield was watched by a Riverside league-low of under 13,000 fans – but attempted to curb the worries.
Appraisals from Harry Redknapp and Billy Davies – “Harry thought we were one of the best teams they’d seen this year in the games that they had watched” – are evidence of Mowbray’s upbeat attitude.
“It’s a backhanded compliment that teams think that we’re such a good team that they have to come up with a different game plan against us,” the Boro boss said, reasoning why his team have drawn six games already.
“Obviously it’s frustrating because we haven’t been able to turn very tight games into victories.
“We will win a game or two and hopefully teams, as the season unfolds, teams will get away from game plans and go back to type.
“If we had lost seven games and drawn three then it would have been a real concern, but we’ve only lost three games out of 10.
“It is a concern, of course. We’re not happy about the fact that we’ve only won once.
“It’s the fact that we feel out of the six draws we could and should have won four of them.
“They’ve all been disappointing draws where we’ve been pushing to try and get a winner.”
Mowbray says the side – devoid of a promotion-material defence, as the manager admits – are behind his methods.
Should Boro embark on a mini run, then the outlook will be a lot more positive.
Mowbray added: “The team has performed to a decent level.
“We have to defend better than we have at the start of the season, keep the goals out.
“Individuals have to stop the errors and I think we’ll start picking up points, picking up momentum.
“They (the players) all are very, very positive.
“They are very much behind the way we play and are disappointed right now.
“When the results start to come they will only get stronger.
“We have to keep going, keep believing, keep working hard and it’ll turn for us.
“Last year there were 14 points from promotion to relegation, so in this league you’re never far away from the play-offs.
“Let’s win the next three games, see how everyone else does, and we’ll be a helluva lot closer (to the play-offs).”
Tomorrow’s visitors are likely to set up to frustrate Boro again, but Mowbray knows how to overcome such defensive tactics.
“We know how tight it’s going to be given the fact that they haven’t conceded a goal in the first 43 minutes of any game this season,” he added.
“Away from home, they don’t have to expand and instead keep it really right, organised and defend really well.
“As we’ve seen in tight, close games we have to try and get in front and put the game to bed. We have to be creative and stick it in the net and try and win the match.”