Date: 30th December 2017 at 6:30pm
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New boss Tony Pulis said there was a definite lack of tempo at times as Middlesbrough slipped to a single-goal defeat to Aston Villa in his first game in charge.

The visitors eventually prevailed courtesy of Robert Snodgrass’ far post header from a 75th minute cross delivered by former Boro winger Albert Adomah.

That moved them above their ninth-placed hosts in the table and up to seventh, and only currently separated from the play-offs on goal-difference.

“I thought Villa did well, they played with a back four and five in front and never let us get in behind,” Pulis told BBC Sport. “I wanted to play with two forwards, see what Rudy Gestede and Britt Assombalonga were like together with Stewart Downing and Martin Braithwaite – and the quality they’ve got you’d hope we’d create opportunities.

“I just thought we were very, very slow at times,” he admitted. “We needed to move the ball quicker and Adama Traore when he came on livened it up.”