TONY PULIS has revealed that turning things around at Middlesbrough would be the perfect thank you for Steve Gibson, having explained how the club’s chairman was the main reason why he agreed to take on the manager’s job at the Riverside Stadium in the first place.

Pulis has come under fire from sections of fans after slumping to a five-match run of defeats which have seen Boro fall out of the play-off places. The Teessiders are now in a seven-way battle for two top six spots, having spent the majority of the campaign focused on an automatic spot.

Middlesbrough head to Swansea City today knowing they can’t really afford another slip-up and to stand a greater chance of delivering in South Wales they need to find an answer to their scoring problems, having wasted a hatful of chances – and they have not scored in more than three and a half games.

Having lost for the fourth home game in a row against Bristol City on Tuesday, some supporters started to call for Pulis to leave and he had a chat with Gibson before training on Friday morning about the current situation.

The pair still have a strong relationship and there is a determination on both sides for the situation to improve, with Gibson sharing the manager’s belief that wastefulness in the final third is what has harmed Middlesbrough’s attempts to return to the Premier League.

“Steve is disappointed in respect of us not taking chances,” said Pulis. “He is exactly the same as every reasonable person connected with Middlesbrough Football Club. 

“The team is playing well, creating chances, but we are not taking them. He says, what can we do to change that? We have to keep being positive and those crossing the line have to take it on and we also need a bit of luck too.

“We’ve been chatting about everything. Life, everything. We have spoken about Steve’s life, what is going on, he asks about Debs and my family. There are no issues with Steve, we have a good relationship.

"I am not looking beyond Swansea. I have said that all along. That has always been my philosophy. Anyone who looks further than that will go wrong.”

Pulis is out of contract at the end of the season and there is an option of a further year on both sides. Regardless of what happens in the summer, he knows what he would love to achieve come May.

He said: “If we were sat here and we were awful on Tuesday, never passed the ball, didn’t create the chances, we were negative, then I would have said we were not good enough. It hasn’t been that and it wasn’t that. Anyone who says it has been is not right. 

“Those that are annoyed can’t say the players aren’t having a go, they can’t say we are not creating chances. The stats say 82 or 83 shots in the last four home games, that’s an extraordinary stat for any club. For us to get two goals from that return is just … 

“It’s something we have to put up with as managers. It’s not easy, you get frustrated. I want to do well for the players, for the chairman who has put a fortune into this club. I would not have come to this club had it not been for Steve because it is so far away from home. 

“It was a big move for me, I knew the responsibilities I was taking on. I knew what had happened in the window before me coming, we knew the score there and the Financial Fair Play rules, I knew that. 

“But I have never managed a football team that has created so many chances in my life, ever. Irrespective of taking them or not, especially in home games. It’s been really bizarre.”

Pulis is well aware of the criticism being directed his way and he knows that can filter down to the players. However, while he is happy for the fans to have a go, he is determined to ensure his players keep performing and deliver in front of goal.

He said: “If they want to moan and groan, have a pop, that’s the nature of today. We are in a society of reality TV, where success happens overnight. I believe that real success happens over a period of time.

"But it is shown that way on TV, where success happens overnight. Real success, real life, you have to work at it over a period of time. 

“This is an excellent club, with good people, it deserves the opportunity to push on and forward. The man at the top of the tree is a top man, people tell me he has been taking some stick and I find that astonishing, I really do, he has put a fortune into this club and the area. He deserves credence but you don’t always get it today.

“Steve has an idea of what I think about what is needed going forward. But now is not the time for us to be talking about that. As I said to him this morning, my sole aim is to get the players to relax and play the way they can play. That's ever so important.

"The biggest thing with the chances is we are still creating them, if we weren’t, even the Aston Villa game we had great chances, it has been our Achilles heel."

Another problem Middlesbrough have encountered is that midfielder Lewis Wing is set for an operation that could rule him out for the rest of the season, although Pulis hopes he will make it back before the end of the campaign.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been carrying a hernia problem in recent weeks. After appearing in Tuesday’s defeat to Bristol City as a second half substitute, Wing will have surgery as soon as possible. 

Pulis said: “We're not sure (how long), if we can get him in quick then who knows, we might be able to get him back for the back end. If we can get it done quick."