Premier League managers earn substantial salaries for their work on the training field, yet Hull City boss Mike Phelan will feel like he is working overtime this week as he looks to put right a host of problems for his struggling side.
Ramirez dominates the contest
With Middlesbrough going into the Monday night clash holding just one win to their name, the Tigers' fans would have considered this an opportunity to earn three points and lift themselves out of the relegation zone. Yet with just one win since August, Phelan set up his side to exercise caution, as did Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka as both teams opted to place more emphasis on their defences.
However, one man stood out from the crowd as he ran the show. Former Hull talent Gaston Ramirez was a constant menace against his former club, finding time and space on the right side of midfield.
Hull's left-sided players Sam Clucas and Andrew Robertson seemed confused and uncomfortable with who should pick up the Uruguayan playmaker. Ramirez linked well with Alvaro Negredo who squandered two good opportunities that you would have expected him to score considering his pedigree in front of goal.
With Ramirez playing a pivotal role, the hosts dominated possession with 61% of the ball, an alarming statistic for Hull against a side previously struggling in the Premier League. With possession came territory and it was only a matter of time before Ramirez made Hull play. This time he floated away from Adama Diomande as he headed in a Viktor Fischer corner.
Lack of attacking threat from the Tigers
Even when the visitors were forced to respond, they offered very little attacking threat. Hull completed a disappointing 76% of passes, thus creating just six shots, only two of which gave Victor Valdes saves to make.
The Tigers' effectiveness in key areas was also minimal. Despite the ability of Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady in wide areas they rarely fed the ball to the flanks, particularly on the left side where Ramirez seemed to have freedom of the pitch.
When Hull did get the ball forward they struggled to find players in the box, with only 11 touches made within 18-yards of the goal. Main striker Diomande managed just two of these in the entire game.
Hull have now dropped to their lowest position of the season at 19th and need to change their fortunes quickly if they are to keep in touch with the teams above them in the league.