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Middlesbrough column: Tony Pulis and the debate that continues to split Boro fans
Monday, 28th Dec 2020 19:20 by Phil Spencer

There are three things that you should never discuss at a dinner party: Politics, Brexit and Tony Pulis's reign as Middlesbrough boss.

The Welshman spent 18 months as manager of the club during a particularly complicated period for the Teessiders.

After replacing Garry Monk as boss in December 2017, Pulis was tasked with getting Middlesbrough promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Given the mixed start to the season under Monk, Pulis did relatively well to get the team back into the top six by the end of the season - but the less said about THAT play-off semi-final against Aston Villa, the better.

Since leaving the club Pulis has received something of a battering from some quarters of the fanbase.

Some believe that the Welshman did a solid job under difficult circumstances as he was able to grind out positive results and secured a top six finish in his first season before narrowly missing out on the play-offs in his second.

To others, he was the 'dinosaur' who played boring football and failed the get the club promoted with a near-Premier League quality side.

But one thing we do know is exactly how he's going to set up.

Sheffield Wednesday have struggled massively this season and find themselves in real trouble of suffering relegation to the Championship.

Pulis will set his side up to be solid and reliable, meaning they're be strong, rigid and most likely, unwilling to take many risks.

This could play into Middlesbrough's hands if Neil Warnock looks to unleash the more creative players in his ranks - otherwise we could be looking at a cagey affair.

Pulis and Warnock are two of the most experienced managers in the EFL and are remarkably similar in their approaches to the game.

But ask Middlesbrough supporters about the pair, and you'll get remarkably different verdicts.

Some of the criticism towards Pulis, in my opinion, is slightly unfair given the financial circumstances that the club were contesting, but fans pay their money for good reason and that gives us every right to voice our opinions.

But don't be surprised if Pulis uses those opinions as extra motivation to try and get one over on us at Hillsborough.

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