Revealed! The key areas Middlesbrough must improve to win promotion to the Premier League

Middlesbrough missed out on promotion at the final hurdle last season - but what areas do they need to improve to return to the top-flight?

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 4:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 5:25 pm
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis was appointed in December 2017.

Well, Bookmaker bwin may have some answers, after assessing every EFL club's performances over the last three seasons to identify where teams are most dangerous, as well as the areas they need to improve.

After finishing fifth in the Championship last campaign, Tony Pulis' side were beaten in the play-offs by Aston Villa in May, and the Boro manager may want to take note of the following figures.

The research found Boro badly need to improve their shooting accuracy, after hitting the target only 27.9 per cent of the time, which was less than all but one Championship club.

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Despite Boro's promising start to this campaign, which has seen them take 10 points out of a possible 12, Pulis has repeatedly expressed his desire to strengthen his squad before the end of the loan market later this month.

And while Boro's starting XI appears to be a match for anyone in the Championship, just 8.3 per cent of the club's goals (13 in total) have come from substitutes.

It means Boro are ranked 22nd in the Championship in terms of goal-scoring substitutes.

The final major weakness the research identified was that Boro 'have little threat from long range', as the club have scored just 15 goals from outside the box in the last three years (just 10.5 per cent of their overall tally in that time).

That figure is less than 22 of the 24 teams in the Championship.

Even so, in their last three seasons Boro have finished in the Championship's top six twice, including their promotion-winning campaign under Aitor Karanka.

So what is it they do so effectively?

Well, it has been revealed Boro are the best team in the whole division at holding onto a lead.

In the last three years, under four different managers, the club have claimed 85.6 per cent of possible points after scoring first.

Boro are also a huge threat from set-pieces, an area which Pulis' sides are often praised for.

Pulis only arrived at the Riverside in December 2017, but the Teessiders are still the third best team in the Championship when it comes to goals scored from corners.

Overall, they have scored 18.2 per cent of their goals from corners since the start of the 2015/16 season (26 in total).

Boro are also the fifth best team in the division when it comes to headed goals, which is perhaps no surprise after employing strikers such as Alvaro Negredo and Rudy Gestede in recent years.

In total, 39 out of Boro's 157 goals (27.3 per cent) in the last three years have been headers, making them the fifth best team in the Championship.