Scottish Premier League

Lennon: Goncalves form no shock

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Fri, 08 Feb 2013 17:17:00

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray insists he will only enter the loan market if an "exceptional player" becomes available.

Boro have lost their last four Championship games and have slipped six points adrift of Leicester, who occupy the final automatic promotion place.

Mowbray, though, will only make a loan signing if it significantly added to the strength of his squad.

He told the club's official website: "If there was a player we thought would make a difference and we could afford, we would be in the market.

"We have got enough footballers - if anything, we have got too many.

"It's no good adding another one unless he's an exceptional player who can make a difference, and generally teams are not in the business of giving exceptional players away."

The Teessiders host Barnsley on Saturday desperate to halt their recent slide.

Mowbray said: "Sometimes defeats concentrate the mind and training has been very focused and professional.

"We have been trying to get back to basics and some real hard work. I spend a lot of time looking at what we are doing and how we are training, and we have changed a few things.

"We are always looking for reasons, but it's difficult to put your finger on it.

"We have to get back to winning ways. There's not a lot wrong apart from that confidence is not where it would be if we had won the last four games."

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a blistering start to his Saints career by netting four goals in three games since joining on loan from Rio Ave.

And, as the Buddies prepare to take on Aberdeen tomorrow, Lennon believes the Portuguese will continue to be a handful for teams even though they know what to expect from him now.

He said: "I'm not surprised. If I didn't think he would have an impact on our football club and help the group then he wouldn't be here.

"He's certainly hit the ground running and long may that continue.

"A lot of people don't know a great deal about him but they'll quickly get to know him.

"I believe he will be one of those players, whether you know his strengths or weaknesses, he will always cause problems anyway."

The Pittodrie pitch appeared to be in a poor state when Scotland played Estonia in a friendly on Wednesday night - but Lennon has no fears about the surface ahead of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash.

He said: "We know the circumstances and the particularly nasty weather that we have here in Scotland.

"It can be difficult, with the demands of the game being put upon it, and we've just got to go with whatever the conditions are.

"It's not within our control. The only thing we can control is our attitude and the way we want to go about our business."

However, midfielder Conor Newton did express concerns about the playing conditions.

He said: "I saw the pitch for the Scotland game and it looks like it's going to be a battle to be honest.

"It looked like it was hard to get the ball down and play and there were bobbles all over the place.

"It might not suit me but we've got to go there and battle."

However, Newton has been impressed by the standard of the SPL - and Saints - since his loan move from Newcastle.

He said: "It's a massive league. It's a very good standard and St Mirren play some brilliant stuff.

"When you look at Paul McGowan, Kenny McLean and John McGinn, they're just popping the ball around for fun.

"It could be mistaken for the Premier League when you watch some of the stuff they play."

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