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Williams insists league position is not a concern
MIDDLESBROUGH defender Rhys Williams insists there is no need to panic despite the team’s recent slide down the Championship table.
Boro slipped to 18th in the standings after Saturday’s disappointing draw at Birmingham City with the gap separating them and the bottom three closing to four points.
The Teessiders have been unable to conjure up run of form under new manager Aitor Karanka leaving them in a worrying position going into a difficult festive programme, but Williams insists there is no need to panic.
Boro’s chances of making the play-offs appear to be getting slimmer by the week, but despite an 11-point gap between them and sixth-place Reading, the Australian believes anything could happen in the second half of the season.
“Right now the table doesn’t look good, but everyone knows this league and knows any team is capable of going on a run,” said Williams, who was taking part in the club’s final Christmas signing session at the town centre official store alongside Albert Adomah and Seb Hines yesterday.
“No one has opened up a gap like in the last two seasons. It’s interesting for people looking in but for us it’s work as usual and we need to start climbing the league.
“No-one wants to be down that end of the table. We want to be at the top. Everyone says there is a long way to go. I think if you look at Reading a couple of seasons ago they went on a mega run and I think we are capable of doing that.
“We need to get results soon. The manager has inherited a good squad. We just need that belief and to have that confidence drilled in us.
“We know we are good enough to be a force in this league and I think everyone else knows that and will be looking in and thinking, ‘what are they doing down there’. “Yes, it needs to happen sooner rather than later and hopefully we can start a run on Saturday.”
And with the January transfer window only a matter of weeks away, the Australian right-back admits a few new faces could give the squad a boost.
He said: “January is just around the corner and the boss will bring in some of his own faces maybe and strengthen us with some new players. Increasing competition in the squad would give us a big boost and would only benefit us.”
Boro will attempt to get their second win under Karanka when Brighton are the visitors to the Riverside on Saturday.
It has been a case of home is where the heart is for the Teessiders this season with three of their four wins coming at the Riverside.
More than half their 30-goal tally has come on Teesside and Williams believes the squad should take confidence from that.
He said: “We need to be a team that wins a lot more than we lose. We’ve got a good record at the Riverside and hopefully we can continue that against Brighton.
“I think we’re one of the top goalscorers at home. Stats like that can give you confidence but it comes down to the day and we need to perform.”
Williams has been deployed at right-back in recent weeks, but Karanka has been forced to change his back four on a number of occasions.
Having conceded late goals in their last two games, Williams admits the side need to be more ruthless at the back after the disappointing nature of their previous two results.
“It was a hard pill to swallow at Birmingham and it comes down to mistakes again,” said Williams. “At least this week we didn’t get a man sent off. We felt it was two points dropped rather than a point gained but we feel we are coming on as a team and it is gradually clicking.
“With the last two managers, including Venus as well, they’ve all changed the formula to try to find a winning one.
“I think we’ve been a lot better but we are still conceding sloppy goals. We are working on some back four and back five stuff, we just need to dig deep and be ruthless.”
Williams, Adomah and Hines completed a line-up of 15 first-team players that have visited the club store to sign official merchandise for supporters ahead of Christmas
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