Yet in their last eleven games they have only lost two. They clearly have a solid backline but are struggling to create anything in attack.
Results have picked up under Aitor Karanka since he replaced 'Boro legend Tony Mowbray earlier this season. After his first few games it looked as if they could mount a challenge for the play-offs this season. However they are now 14th, 11 points adrift of 6th place. It looks unlikely they will be sucked into a relegation battle being 15 points ahead of Charlton in 22nd and it seems like mid-table mediocrity until the end of the season but they will need to start firing the goals in sooner rather than later.
'Boro haven't scored in their last five games and have gained just three points from those games. In the whole of 2014 they have only scored five goals, and just one of them has come at The Riverside Stadium. Karanka believes the players are suffering from overconfidence. The former Real Madrid assistant manager has questioned his players attitude. He thinks that due to the good start he had as a manager at the club the players think they are better than they are and are just expecting the results to come easily.
Middlesbrough had 64% of possession against Watford on Saturday but couldn't manage to score and succumbed to a 1-0 defeat. "You do not win games by just having the ball. We're not scoring goals because we're not working hard enough - it's impossible to win games when you're doing that."
"The players need to be more humble but the problem for me is how do I fix that?"
If Karanka doesn't know how to fix it then Middlesbrough could be in real trouble. They have struggled for goal from their strikers all season. Their top two goals scorers are Albert Adomah with nine and Mustapha Carayol with seven and they are wingers/attacking midfielders.
They allowed Marvin Emnes, who scored well last season, to join Swansea City and Lukas Jutkiewicz to move to Bolton Wanderers on loan and brought in Danny Graham on loan from Sunderland.
You would think Graham can make an impact in the Championship and would have something to prove after having a difficult last 18 months. The players at the club are clearly taking time to adapt to Karanka's style of play. It can often take a while for a team to change their ways after becoming used to the previous manager's style of play.
The improvement in results initially can be put down to a boost that happens when a new manager comes in. The club are optimistic, the fans are excited and the players try and impress the new gaffer. But that can quickly die down, and Karanka needs to revitalise his team.
Three of 'Boro's next four games are at home and they will have to a way to start scoring again, or their slide down the table could become a battle against relegation.
image: © Paul Hudson