Tony Pulis has revealed he plans to cut the Middlesbrough squad – because he has too many players.
Pulis only took over on Boxing Day and has not had much time with the players to work on the sort of shape and approach he would like.
He was disappointed with aspects of the display in the defeat against Aston Villa on Saturday, and has revealed he could be offloading players next month to help with his selection dilemmas.
Pulis explained: “I thought Villa did well, they played with a back four and five in front and never let us get in behind.
“I wanted to play with two forwards, see what Rudy Gestede and Britt Assombalonga were like together with Stewart Downing and Martin Braithwaite – and the quality they’ve got you’d hope we’d create opportunities.
“I just thought we were very, very slow at times. We needed to move the ball quicker and Adama Traore when he came on livened it up. He carried the ball and he livened the crowd, which is important in home games. He was definitely a plus.
“This squad is bigger than the one I left at West Brom, too many in my view, some you know and some you don’t know. I need to assess the group.
“Steve (Gibson, the chairman) spent an absolute fortune in the summer and out of respect to him I really have to be prudent with what I do and don’t, not make rash decisions.
“If it takes a bit of time it takes a bit of time but I want to be fair to Steve because he’s spent a lot of money on the squad.
“There’s players within the group that I’ve got to find out about.
“I’ve got a chance to watch a lot of games quickly. The squad is definitely too big. I don’t like big squads.”