TONY Mowbray knows Middlesbrough’s dismal run must stop now or his club will repeat last season’s collapse.
Four league defeats out of four in the first month of 2013 has meant supporters have started to worry that, just like a year ago, a dreadful January ruins their chances of promotion.
Lose to Barnsley today at the Riverside, with Leeds due on Teesside on Tuesday, and things would really start to look bleak.
Middlesbrough must get back into winning habit this afternoon.
Mowbray said: “You have to work through difficult periods. We can’t carry on in this vein.
“This weekend we will need an honest, hard-working and serious performance.
“It doesn’t mean they won’t pick a pass or score from asset play and we go one down. It’s how you fight yourself through that.
“I’m aware of the statistics, the performance in the games, some have been good, some have been poor.
“We have to find a way to win even if we are not playing well.
“Then if we can come out of Leeds, and we could have turned the situation round, we could head to Crystal Palace next week in positive mood.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, however.
Middlesbrough need only put together three or four wins and they would probably find themselves second behind Cardiff City, who have started to stretch clear at the top.
The teams around them are more than capable of losing any game. Consistency, as always, will be key.
Mowbray added: “We are only six points off a promotion spot and have an opportunity this week to take six points with two home games.
“If we can do that we could fire things up and ease the negativity.