Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis sends a strong message to Jordan Hugill following goalless draw at Stoke

Jordan Hugill playing for Middlesbrough.
Jordan Hugill playing for Middlesbrough.

Tony Pulis praised Jordan Hugill for his tireless performance against Stoke - but warned the striker he must stop going to ground so easily.

Boro stayed third in the Championship following their goalless stalemate at the bet365 Stadium - the Teessider's third league draw in a row.

Hugill, 26, was preferred to Britt Assombalonga up front, but squandered the best chance of the game when he was sent through on goal in the second half.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland denied the striker but despite the missed opportunity, Pulis was pleased with how Hugill led the line and brought others into play.

However, the Boro boss wasn't impressed with another part of Hugill's game, and told the striker to cut out the dramatics.

"I don't like all that nonsense, that's got to stop and he'll know that now," said Pulis after the match. "I've had a chat with Jordan."

"I thought Jordan went down far, far too easily a couple of times today. I don’t want that as a manager, that’s not right.

"We’ve sorted that out after the game. I think he went down twice dramatically. I don’t like all that nonsense, that’s got to stop and he’ll know that now.

"But I thought he worked really tirelessly up front. He gave us a great platform to play off."

Stoke dominated possession for most of the contest but couldn't find a way to breach Boro's well-drilled rearguard.

The Teessiders were missing defensive stalwart Daniel Ayala through suspension, but his replacement Danny Batth produced a man of the match performance to keep the Potters out.

Batth was making his first league start for Boro since signing for the club on a season-long loan from Wolves in the summer.

But the 28-year-old centre-back didn't show any signs of rustiness, making two crucial last-ditch blocks to keep his side level in the first half.

The best opportunities fell to Boro, though, as Butland kept out Stewart Downing's drive midway through the first half.

After Hugill's effort was also saved, the England shot stopper repelled Jonny Howson's low strike late on, after the ball travelled through a crowd of bodies.

Despite those chances, Stoke boss Gary Rowett thought his team were the better side.

“I thought we were undoubtedly the better side but what you find with Middlesbrough is that they don’t give very much away at all," he said.

“When they need to block balls and defend for their lives then they are incredibly adept at that, and not many do it better than them in fairness."