Middlesbrough have found their ruthless streak at a key time with the chase for promotion hotting up.
Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough side cemented their Championship top-six spot with the 3-1 win over lowly Barnsley at the Riverside, Boro’s third straight win.
Boro have now won four of their last five games, a run which has seen the Teessiders move three points clear of seventh-placed Bristol City with nine games left.
And midfielder Jonny Howson has hailed the recent turn around in fortunes, praising the new-found ruthless streak.
Boro travel to mid-table Brentford on Saturday ahead of the final international break of the season.
“We started the game very and well and scored a couple of nice goals first half,” reflected Howson following victory over struggling Barnsley.
“If we can get off to a good start and get the crowd behind us we can put them on the back foot.
“The main message in the changing room this week was follow it up, don’t let it go to sleep.
“They got the goal, hit the post, and a couple of others flashed across the box.
“There’s always times within the 90 minutes that you look back and can improve on but the main thing is we got the win.
“Sometimes this season we’ve played as well as that but the goals have been missing.
“The bottom line is those three points are vital at this stage of the season, and it was a good way to follow up the two wins this week,” Howson told the club’s official site.
Middlesbrough are sixth with 61 points, level with Derby County who have a game in hand. Boro are three points ahead of Bristol City who sit just outside the play-offs ahead of the final nine games of the campaign.