Garry Monk`s first game as our manager was pretty promising despite us suffering a sixth consecutive defeat in the league. So, what did we learn from the game against Boro last night?
1. He is not afraid to be bold
The 4-4-2 formation was a surprising and bold decision by the new boss. Tony Pulis`s side were coming off a good 3-0 win against Leeds last week and were on a high from the performance so it was a risk to be so adventurous in the system we selected.
Even with just four in midfield we still had the majority of possession, but it was a shame we couldn`t carve out more chances. Che Adams was moved off the wing and back to his more natural central striking role, but he didn`t make the impact he would have liked. If we stick with two up top, Sam Gallagher may be breathing down the 21 year old`s for a starting berth against Cardiff.
2. It looks like Jota will be getting a fresh start
The Spaniard has failed to live up to expectations since his summer arrival, but by the look of things, the new manager will give him another chance to prove himself.
It was his first start since his brace against Sheffield Wednesday back in early February, and he rewarded the gaffer`s faith by putting in a good display on the right hand side.
Particularly in the first half, he seemed to be popping up right across the pitch, and he was delivering some good set pieces as well. Still, he needs to be much more consistent. He didn`t offer nearly as much in the second half, and if he wants an extended run in the team, he must show a sustained effort for 90 minutes.
3. Goals are still hard to come by
It`s now just one goal in six games for us, and it was never going to be easy coming up against a team managed by Pulis. Our opponents were very well organised, and it was always likely that we would come under pressure at set pieces.
What was frustrating though was that we managed to clear the first ball but were unable to deal with the next delivery for Bamford`s close range finish.
Once a goal down, and the opposition had something to hold on to, it was difficult to create the openings we wanted. However, we have to improve in the final third in the coming weeks if we are to get out of the bottom three.