Taking care of the important things first.
That seems to be the message that Mateusz Klich wanted to get across after his winning goal at the Riverside on Wednesday night.
Speaking to the club website after the game, Klich talked about what getting the three points meant in the grand scheme of things and how the team compares to last season when they fell short at the final hurdle:
“I’m very happy to score but I’m happier with the three points. It was a very intense game, you could see Middlesbrough wanted to win as they needed the points. We know if we keep clean sheets, it’s going to be fine as in every game we get chances. Obviously everyone knows what we’re playing for, we have to take experience from last season and no one wants to repeat that. We can feel the pressure but everyone is mentally stronger this season.”
However, it’s the point about clean sheets that caught my eye.
Is Klich in contention to be our player of the year?
It’s not the defence that has been the problem this year, which is the second-best in the division in terms of goals conceded, it has been, and more than likely will be until the end of the season unless something changes, our inability to score.
Whilst we may be strong at the back, that doesn’t really count for much if we can’t put the ball in at the other end on a consistent basis. These 1-0 victories that we have been gathering throughout the season, seven of them so far, show that we have been flirting dangerously with disaster all season and any number of those could have turned into 0-0’s or 1-1’s with the slightest of changes or bounce of a ball here or there.
So it’s no good us being good at one end and bad at the other, we need to get that balance right. Because whilst we might have a bit of a gap to thirds place now, we have blown leads like this before, and unless something changes, we might end up doing it again.