Tony Pulis says it is still game on despite his Middlesbrough side losing the play-off semi-final 1-0 against Aston Villa.
Mile Jedinak’s glancing first-half header from a Jack Grealish corner settled the game in favour of Steve Bruce’s visitors, and the two sides will meet in the second leg at Villa Park on Tuesday for the right to take on either Derby or Fulham at Wembley.
Boro fought to the bitter end for an equaliser but were largely unable to summon up the craft they needed, despite goalkeeper Sam Johnstone’s late save from substitute Fabio.
Even so Pulis is confident they have got what it takes to turn the tie around.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Pulis said.
“I thought we did enough not to lose the game today, but it’s small margins. The set-play is a disappointment, we’re disappointed they scored off that.”
“Villa are in the ascendancy in the tie. I can’t hide the fact, going to Villa Park in front of a full-house, it gives them an advantage. But there’s still 90 minutes to play and anything can happen in 90 minutes.”
“There were times today where Adama had good patches and good spells. He’s a terrific player, he’s got fantastic talent and, on his day, he can do things.”
“But we had other players today who played well as well and sometimes that fact is hidden because of Adama’s rise to fame, if anything.”