TONY Mowbray has urged his confidence-sapped Middlesbrough team to get back to winning ways, starting this weekend against Barnsley.
Mowbray’s team entertain the 22nd-placed Tykes (3pm kick off) on the back of four successive league defeats with three points Mogga’s only weekend wish.
Boro are just six points shy of second-place in the Championship but have once again enrolled on their traditional new year slump.
Manager Mowbray, though, does not believe that his team have been performing sub-standard in the four losses.
“There’s no game which we approach where you think ‘we don’t really fancy it today, we’re not going to get the points’,” he said.
“We try and win every game.
“We have changed a few things on the training ground over the past few weeks to snap out of anything that might have been a problem.
“You’ve got to break all these things down.
“It’s not as if we’ve had four disastrous performances, we’ve had two poor performances, and one and a half decent performances.
“Why that’s dropped away is difficult to put your finger on.
“Maybe confidence and belief gets eroded a little bit when results go against you.
“At Leicester we put in a decent, solid, hard-working performance with a threat, yet came out of that with a defeat as well.
“Ipswich, last weekend, we lost the game to a set-piece goal when there was nothing really in it.
“There’s not a lot wrong other than confidence, that wouldn’t be where it is if we had won the last four games.”
To arrest the slide, Boro have had a “professional, hard-working and understanding” week on their Rockliffe Park training pitches.
Mowbray points to the psychologically aspect of losing games that could be affecting Boro’s form at present and admits that the response from his players in training has been positive.
“When it’s going well you turn up, you get on with it and the training’s bouncy and you win your next match,” he continued.
“When you’re losing matches it can concentrate the mind.
“Training has been focused and professional and we’re trying to get back to basics, preparing as well as we can.
“Of course that doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to win but there’s been an extra focus (in training).”
“We have to get back to winning ways,” he went on.
“Let’s see if we can come out of the game (against Barnsley) with a good result of what will be a tough game, a tight game.
“When the game comes we will be positive and try to get a win.”