Rodrigo Muniz: 'Since I arrived here, the fans have supported me a lot'

Rodrigo Muniz in action for Middlesbrough against Watford.
Rodrigo Muniz in action for Middlesbrough against Watford.

MIDDLESBROUGH striker Rodrigo Muniz admits he is beginning to understand the level of expectation at the club with the fans hoping to see better when the team returns to Championship action.

After a hectic summer of overhaul at the club, Boro currently sit in the relegation zone after just two wins from their opening ten games of the season. Chris Wilder’s side have been billed as heavyweights in the division and have been expected to be pushing for promotion but so far, have fallen short of expectation.

The 21-year-old Brazilian, who is on loan from Fulham this season and enjoyed a successful promotion campaign with the Cottagers last season, has made a solid start to life on Teesside with two goals in his first five games. Both goals came in recent defeats to Watford and Cardiff City.

The young striker, who was a transfer target for Boro last summer before making the switch to Fulham from Flamengo, has become a popular figure on Teesside during his short time with his determined displays and he plans on rewarding the supporters for their appreciation when the international break comes to an end next weekend.

Muniz told ESPN Brazil: “The difference from here to Brazil is that here, it is more intense and the staff respects it more tactically.

“Since I arrived here (Boro), the fans have supported me a lot. It’s just that a crowd, like all the others, demands results. We’ve been playing well but the results haven’t come.

“Each week, now that the window is closed, the players are more focused here. The group has closed at the team is more focused.”

His battling displays and instincts as a striker have seen him take the mantle as Boro’s main man up front so far this season in the hope that he can produce the goals that the side were desperately lacking in the team last season.

Muniz has been a regular in the Boro side starting four out of his five games so far since his loan move from Marco Silva’s side. Despite having a solid start, manager Chris Wilder implores the fan base to be patient with the Brazilian and feels continued bedding into the club will bring the best out of him.

The Boro boss said: “There are players that have come into the club very late, a couple of players that are still finding their way. Rodrigo has a couple of bits and pieces and still is only a young kid so he has got a bit of work to do with the way we play as well.

“It’s not ideal but it is not an excuse. We just have to keep going. We knew the international break was what it was and the three games were big games. We’ve had one postponed for obvious reasons and we’ve took one point out of six. Obviously, we’re not looking at that and thinking that is a great return.”

By the time the international break finishes next weekend, Boro will take on winless Coventry City who currently sit rock bottom of the division with both sides looking for an upturn in form.

The Boro boss remains hopeful defender Darragh Lenihan and striker Chuba Akpom will be fit enough to return with the pair being assessed over the international break.

Lenihan is recovering from a foot problem that has kept him out of the last three games while Akpom has been missing since the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United last month, where he scored both of the goals in the game.

Meanwhile, Paddy McNair, Marcus Forss, Riley McGree, Zack Steffen and Caolan Boyd-Munce will link back up with the squad next week having represented their respective nations during the recent break.