After eight games without a victory, Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate admits that his side need to be more clinical in front of goal if their luck is to change.
Boro started the game brightly at Pride Park and should've taken the lead when Britt Assombalonga rounded Derby County goalkeeper Kelle Roos but saw his effort blocked on the line by defender Matt Clarke.
After Derby's Tom Lawrence opened the scoring on 22 minutes, Boro were then reduced to ten men after George Saville was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Krystian Bielik.
Woodgate felt the turning-point was Assombalonga’s ‘easy’ opportunity which could've swung the game in the Boro's favour.
"It's unbelievable really," Woodgate told the Hartlepool Mail.
"It's a huge chance and you have got to take it. In this league it's a cliche but it's fine margins in games. If we go one up, the fans were already getting on their back anyway, and then we get a man sent off and it’s difficult from there.
"We’re creating opportunities, to be honest with you, easy opportunities. It’s not just the forwards, it’s midfielders and defenders. You can’t always pin the blame on the forwards.
“We need to start scoring but the chance at the start is an easy chance.”
Woodgate was also without forward Ashley Fletcher at Pride Park after the striker suffered a calf injury in training which could rule him out of next weekend’s trip to QPR.
Lack of confidence
Boro remain the lowest scorers in the Sky Bet Championship with just ten goals this season, and when asked if his frontmen are lacking confidence Woodgate said: “Maybe so. I can't give the forward players anymore confidence than I'm giving them.
“I've talked about them relentlessly, through pre-season, through nearly every press conference, in meetings, in one-on-ones.
“Sometimes as a player if you go through a tough spell you need to look at yourself and back yourself because you're there for a reason in the first place.
“How did you get there? What do you need to keep on doing? You need to do all the right things and keep on doing them? Sooner or later something will happen and you will start scoring.”