Garry Monk's Middlesbrough backed for automatic promotionby Mike Holden / 04 August 2017, 16:05Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Garry Monk and Middlesbrough ahead of the 2017/18 Championship season.
Middlesbrough’s long-awaited return to the top flight was short-lived, with Aitor Karanka sacked in March for failing to trouble opposition defences. Boro ended the campaign 12 points short of safety, scoring the fewest goals in the division, but they didn’t overstretch themselves in the transfer market and their parachute payments should make them a formidable proposition now. Garry Monk has been chosen to lead the charge back to the Premier League following a fine season at Leeds. £15m striker Britt Assombalonga is one of six significant new arrivals.
Monk’s strong suit is logistics, the ability to break down a style of play into component parts, assign tasks to players that make each one more effective, then put it all back together. When he talks about "putting our performance out on the pitch", that's precisely what he means. With him, everything is black and white. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do anything. Players are held accountable for their own key performance indicators, and excuses won’t be tolerated.
"In sport and in life you get setbacks, it’s how you respond to them. The best people always respond with that determination to come back stronger than ever. That’s been relayed to the players and they’ve said it themselves as well. Including them is a big part of what I do, having that ear to listen and helping them develop. We put a platform there to be the best, and that’s what I demand. I’m sure you’ll see that as the season starts."
Given that Monk collected 75 points with the squad he inherited at Leeds, you’d expect him to be in the region of 90 with the quality at his disposal on Teesside. Question marks reside over his ability outfox the shrewdest tacticians without the guidance of former right-hand man Pep Clotet but there’s no denying his supreme talent for logistics. His teams operate like a well-oiled machine, always keeping something in reserve, and they often do most of their damage late on in matches.
Prediction: automatic promotion