Tony Pulis faced the media today, ahead of their massive game against Swansea tomorrow, and was defiant in the face of mounting criticism from Boro’s fans.
He acknowledged fans’ feelings, and agreed that, as paying customers, they have every right to criticise, insisting “they can say what they want”.
But he also pleaded for unity, expressing a need for “everyone to be together”, in a bid to end their horrible run of form, and regain their footing in the play-off race.
The Hartlepool Mail report Pulis said: “I don’t have a problem with it. If people want to criticise I understand that. I understand the job. I understand my responsibilities.
“People pay their money and they have a right to criticise. They can say what they want.. “But we need everyone to be together right now. And the most important people in that are the players. They have to stay together and they have that belief.
Boro’s loyal fans have a dilemma on their hands. While they are fed up with how things have gone recently, they do need to be behind their side in the remaining games — starting at Swansea tomorrow.
That said, they cannot be expected to watch a team go six games without a win — which has seen them lose their last five in succession — without venting their frustrations.
To say nothing, is to send a message that they are accepting what they are being served up, and that is simply not right.
It is a balancing act.
The fans will, as ever, be 100 per cent behind their team when they walk onto the pitch at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow, but for how long, is up to the manager an players.
If they start well, and get their noses in front, then Pulis’s rallying call will be followed.
But should they continue to struggle to find the net, and see their manager seemingly unable to switch to an effective plan B, then the fans will hold him, and the players, to account.
The supporters can definitely do their part to help tomorrow, but it is certainly not their job to motivate the players before a game — they should not have to.
That is the manager’s job, and if he cannot get every one of his players up for a game, in which nothing other than a win will suffice, then the only outcome is for him to leave his post.
Pulis, apparently, has support in the boardroom — at least publicly anyway — but how long that lasts, only time will tell.
What are your thoughts and predictions before tomorrow’s game? Will you listen to Pulis’s calls for unity? Let us know your thoughts…