Tony Pulis on potential of Middlesbrough ace Adama Traore and why he believes Chris Coleman will keep Sunderland up

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Tony Pulis believes flying Middlesbrough winger Adama Traore has the potential and attributes to be a "top, top player."

Traore was one of the star performers in Boro’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Sunderland at the Riverside, setting up Rudy Gestede for the first after just 10 minutes with a blistering turn of pace.

Middlesbrough ace Adama Traore battles for the ball with Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Middlesbrough ace Adama Traore battles for the ball with Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Patched-up Sunderland struggled to come to terms with his pace and quick feet, the 21-year-old former Barcelona youth player a threat throughout.

Martin Braithwaite added a second three minutes before half-time to seal a comfortable win as Boro progressed to the fourth round of the competition.

Reflecting on Traore’s impact, Pulis said: "Adama has to learn what tools he’s got, and if he understands what he’s got in the bag, then he could be a top, top player.

"If you look at all the top players at the top clubs in the Premier League, you only have to look at Man City to see the pace they’ve got wide.

"Adama has great feet. He’s not just quick, he has great feet when he gets the ball.

"What he has to do is work it out for himself.

"We’ll spend time with him, but in the last two games, he’s shown signs of running behind teams.

"When he gets the ball, he’s a real threat.

"We’ve just got to make sure we keep encouraging him and working with him."

Having successfully reached the fourth round, Pulis admitted he would relish a repeat of his trip to the 2011 FA Cup final with Stoke.

"We played a strong team, and I played a strong team because of the great respect I have for the FA Cup. I think the FA Cup is the best competition in the world, and having taken a team to Wembley with Stoke, it was a fantastic experience for everybody, supporters, players and coaching staff. If I could do it again, I’d be absolutely delighted."

The 59-year-old took charge of Boro on Boxing Day following Garry Monk’s departure.

And despite Boro’s return to the fringes of the Championship play-off race under the former West Brom boss, Pulis resisted the urge to target promotion, insisting it is still too early in his time at the Riverside to make such a judgement.

He added: "People talk about promotion and there’s no one who wants promotion more than me, but my remit was to come here and have a really good look at the place and try to build something.

"It’s a learning process for myself, trying to work out the teams that we’re going to play against and the standard. I’m sat here as a 60-year-old in a couple of weeks time, but I have to learn and I have to learn quickly," added Pulis.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are struggling at the foot of the Championship but Pulis has backed Chris Coleman to turn it around.

He added: "I’ve got great respect for Chris and Kit. They’re fellow Welshmen so I’m going to be biased with them, but I’m sure he will sort it out.

"Looking at the squad, if they get the players back, I don’t think they’ll go down."