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Watch | Nathan Jones' pre-Middlesbrough press conference

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14 December 2020

Manager Nathan Jones reflected on what he believed to be a ‘good week’ for his team after picking up four points against Coventry City and Preston North End respectively.

The week started in defeat away versus Swansea City despite a good performance, but the next two performances certainly pleased the gaffer, as he revealed in this afternoon’s press conference.

“We had to make sure that we did all the basics right, we wanted to play with aggression because we were at home and we went midweek to make sure that one we didn't get beat and two to really have a right go at the weekend and that’s what we did.

“Overall it topped off a good week and we knew we had to be at it as I’m a big admirer of Preston, they do things very well, I always describe them as they know what they’re doing at Championship level.”

Jones’ team haven’t found the back of the net in the last three away matches, a statistic the manager will be happy to see change Wednesday night against Middlesbrough.

“The Cardiff performance concerned me, if I’m honest, because of the level of performance. Against Swansea, we were excellent and should’ve scored a clear-cut chance. 

“I thought we were excellent at Coventry. It wasn’t a swashbuckling, fluent performance, but it was a real good Championship solid performance, where you go away from home and pick up something. 

“Then, coupled with a home win, it makes it a good week. We want to score goals, but we don’t play any more defensively away from home than we do at home. 

“Last year, we probably had a better away record than we did at home, so it’s just strange times. 

“What you have to do is keep that performance level high and then, ultimately, you get what you deserve. 

“We want to be in the mould of our Swansea or Coventry performance, rather than our Cardiff one, because at Cardiff we didn’t turn up and didn’t compete and that’s not us, because we are a very competitive side.”

His squad could be bolstered by the return of Croatia international Simon Sluga, who is now back in full training, but the match is likely to come too quickly for striker Danny Hylton - who hasn’t featured since the defeat against Brentford in October.

“It’s when we want to put him in, really. He’s trained for four days now and it wasn’t a major one so it’s not like he missed a massive amount of time. And, being a goalkeeper, it’s not like he has to do 11-12kms, with high-intensity running. 

“So, when we feel it’s right and if we feel it’s right, we’ve got that option to put him back in.

“It’s probably a few days too early for Hylts to come back in but we’re in a decent place and that’s good, coming up with two tough games now. 

“Then we’ve got the rare thing of a free week after that so we really want big effort from them for the next two weeks. Then we can let them deflate for a few days, enjoy the Christmas period before another crazy time.”


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