Tony Pulis says Middlesbrough did not create enough in Aston Villa play-off defeat

Tony Pulis says he is proud of his players and felt they gave it everything over the two legs of their Championship play-off semi-final with Aston Villa

Tony Pulis lamented Middlesbrough’s inability to create more chances during their 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Aston Villa.

Pulis’ side failed to register a shot on target at Villa Park in the second-leg goalless draw, which was enough to send Aston Villa to the Championship play-off final against Fulham at Wembley on May 26 following Mile Jedinak’s header in the first leg.

“We’ve had good spells in both games, but we had to create a little bit more and score goals,” Pulis said. “That’s been the difference really, a set play has cost us over the two games.

“We changed it and got a little bit more open, but you’re hoping something will drop for you. What I will say is the teams that finished third and fourth over the season have got to Wembley. That’s justification if anything.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough

“It’s a long season, a hard season, I can accept they’ve been the third and fourth best teams in the league. You have to take it on the chin, it’s not easy to say that, but that’s being brutally honest.”

Villa could have been reduced to 10 men in the final five minutes, when goalkeeper Sam Johnstone handled Adama Traore’s goalbound shot outside the Villa area.

“I’m really disappointed,” Pulis added. “Everyone can see it, you trust the referee to make the correct decision. I know it’s a big game, but he’s a Premier League referee and that means you expect him to get those decisions right.

“It might not have made a difference because it was so late in the game, but that doesn’t stop it being made.”