Adama Traore hopes to help Middlesbrough at both ends of the pitch in their push for a Championship play-off place.
Pacy winger Traore was outstanding in Friday night’s 3-0 defeat of Leeds United, a victory which took them into the top six, at least until Bristol City thumped Sheffield Wed-nesday 4-0 on Saturday.
Now the focus for Boro switches to tomorrow’s visit to third-bottom Birmingham City.
Ex-Aston Villa flier Traore says that he is enjoying working with managerTony Pulis on Boro’s training pitches.
Traore has found a new lease of life under Pulis, and he told mfc.co.uk: “We work every day, and he speaks to me every day about the defensive shape.
“He knows what I can do on the offensive and the kind of player that I want to be.
“If I can help the team defending as well, then everything is good.”
Traore, who only played against Leeds because his sending-off at Sunderland was rescinded, added: “I think the red card helped show me not to be provoked, to focus on the game.
“I’m happy for the performance and for the team.
“We need to keep going, and this is the road.”
Patrick Bamford, whose treble sank Leeds and took his personal goal tally to six in three matches, hailed the influence of Traore, whose barnstorming run set up the crucial second goal.
“He can be unplayable – so fast, and so strong on the ball,” Bamford told mfc.co.uk. “He’s still young, and he’s getting better and better with his final pass and final decision.”