Sky Bet Championship: Ben Gibson admits Middlesbrough have to improve
Ben Gibson admits that Middlesbrough have a lot to work on as they try to find a spark to ignite their season.
Last Updated: 20/12/13 3:27pm
Since tumbling out of the Premier League in 2009, each passing season brings a renewed sense of hope and optimism at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro are, however, about as far away from sealing a return to the Promised Land as they have been since re-entering the second tier - with the club sat 20th in the Championship standings.
Just four wins have been collected from 20 fixtures, with a forgettable opening to the campaign costing Tony Mowbray his managerial post.
Gibson concedes that Boro have contributed to their own downfall with sloppy mistakes and is offering up no excuses as to why they find themselves in their current position - with it up to them to start righting the wrongs.
He told Sky Sports: "We do definitely need to change things because the table doesn't lie. We're down there for a reason, we haven't been good enough. There is a lot that needs changing, we can't keep carrying on in the same manner.
"We will keep working and doing what we believe is right and the right way to play football, but we will keep working on the mistakes we're making and the areas we think we need to improve. Not by any means we will continue on as we are, we have to work on what we're doing wrong, look at it and improve fast.
"We have said for a long time that we shouldn't be where we are and we shouldn't be in this league, so we need to pick up points fast. The table doesn't lie, we're down there and we need to get away from there before we get dragged into a battle we don't want to be in.
"It has been silly errors at times. We've worked a lot on our defensive shape and not many teams can play through us and we have defended well as a unit. It has been a lack of concentration that has cost us.
"We'll look at the next game hoping to win that and to go on a run. Obviously everyone wants to go on a run but we're just looking at Saturday and getting three points. It's something we're desperate to do.
"Saturday is a massive game, I know they have cut the prices so it will be a big attendance and there is no better opportunity than on the telly, it's on Sky and it's a game we're all looking forward to and desperate to get three points from."
The 'massive game' Gibson speaks of will see Boro travel to Millwall - a side perched just a point above them in the table - for a live FL72 clash on Saturday evening.
That Championship contest will offer the Teesside outfit an opportunity to get back on track, with it now up to Aitor Karanka to decide if a change in approach is required to generate a result in the capital.
Gibson added: "That's the gaffer's decision now. We have to look after ourselves and play the formation that the gaffer puts us in. I don't think that's what needs changing. For the basic mistakes that we have made, it's people's concentration. That is something that you can encourage as a team, but it's really individual and we have got to expect more of each other and try to get better to prevent those mistakes from happening."
Asked if Boro would be happy to take a point off a side who have gone seven without defeat on home soil, Gibson said: "No, we want three points. A point isn't good enough for us. Teams like Millwall, whether it's at home or away, we feel we should be beating them. That's what we will look to do."
The 20-year-old defender will be hoping to be involved again at The Den, with a product of the famed Riverside academy ranks ready to 'nail down' a senior role after being toughened up to the demands of first team football during loan spells at Plymouth Argyle, York City and Tranmere Rovers.
Gibson, who is benefitting from having experienced heads such as Jonathan Woodgate, Dean Whitehead and loanee Shay Given around him, said: "It's what I've always wanted and dreamt of. I knew I had to go out and play games and experience first team and man's football. That's what the old manager wanted and I think it has stood me in good stead.
"I'm just trying to take every opportunity I can to show what I can do. I have managed to play a few games and now I really want to establish myself here and nail down a spot and stay here for a long, long time.
"I'm very fortunate that the lads are all very good, especially Woody. I have a close relationship with him and he's been excellent if there is anything I want to ask or talk about. The same with Shay and Deano, if I ever have any queries or if I want to voice an opinion, they will listen and are very helpful.
"I feel as though I am learning a lot, especially playing alongside Woody who has been at the highest level. The more I play with him, the better it will be for my career."
For now, though, the focus for all of those connected with Boro is ensuring that the next 12 months see the club get back on an upward curve as a collective.
Gibson said: "Everyone knows that 2013 has been a pretty disastrous year for the football club and we're hoping that 2014 will bring new success. But it starts Saturday so hopefully we can get a few wins, go on a run and then we'll just take every game as it comes. But we're not looking past Saturday as of yet."
Ben Gibson was talking to Sky Sports on behalf of Sky Bet, the Title Sponsor of The Football League.
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