Chris Wilder wants to see Middlesbrough produce the levels they achieved against Tottenham in their last league games, warning of the consequences if they don’t.

Boro was magnificent on Tuesday night as they beat Spurs in the FA Cup after extra time, finishing the game with more possession, shots and successful completions than the Premier League side.

But the win came following a disappointing league loss to Barnsley last weekend which saw Wilder’s side slip to eighth in the Championship table. And with the race to reach the top six with 13 games to go, the Boro boss says his side need to be at that level of Spurs every game by the end of the season.

This weekend is a side Wilder knows well at Luton Town, having once managed local rivals Northampton and battled them on conference days at Oxford. Luton and Wilder have come a long way since that time, with Luton currently sitting last in the play-offs ahead of Boro.

Wilder said: “It was great and we have to take advantage of it. But the players also understand that it’s back to school and that we’re getting our hands dirty again against a strong opponent who is doing very well at the moment.

“I know a lot of people in Luton, I know the general manager well and few others. One of my previous teams, Oxford United, played Luton in the conference and we had some fabulous battles.

“They went out and had an incredible journey. They are looking to move to a new stadium and clearly have a lot of ambition. It’s a reward for the likes of Gary [Sweet, chief executive] and others who have moved this forward.

“Obviously Nathan. [Jones] is back there too, at a club close to his heart. He took a trip to Stoke for a little while, then ended up in Luton.

“The club is characterized by Nathan’s attitude towards the game and the players as well. This division is not about the big names, it’s about what you do on the pitch. You don’t get anything from being a big name with a great story. You have to go out there and earn the right and they did that to be in the position that they are in now, and they will do anything to keep that position.

It was Boro’s defenders who bore the brunt of Wilder’s post-game frustrations at Oakwell last weekend as he blasted the defense.

But proving themselves on Tuesday night, they kept an 11th clean sheet of the season against a Spurs side that included record duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min no less.

Wilder says it’s proof they’re good enough, but they need to weed out stupid mistakes, warning there will be consequences if they don’t.

He said: “We just want to win after a disappointing result at Barnsley. We are in good shape and we understand where some problems are, but as we talked about, it is difficult to access the training ground.

“The bit in the middle delighted me. I think it was really good. But that means nothing if you don’t defend well individually and collectively.

“We showed on Tuesday night that we could face a world-class team. So those little details, we have to get it right. We won’t get promoted or win things with a flaky structure out of possession.

“We haven’t had that much. We’ve kept our fair share of clean sheets and so I think it’s all about focus and mentality because we’ve shown we can do it. We have to make sure that both parts of the game are taken into account.

“The messages are clear and there will be consequences if not. I had to be, and I’ll be ruthless with my approach if I need to.

“Sometimes your hands are a bit tied behind the back at this stage of the season, but there have to be consequences. There can’t be a wrecking ball, but if this were to continue there should be consequences. .

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“It would start with getting out of the team and then in the longer term the consequence would be losing the right to be part of the journey ahead.

“If we’re going to be successful next year, there has to be 18-20 clean sheets, a good defensive record. I still think the middle piece will be good and the top piece has to be good.

“These messages are consistent. I’m not sitting in the locker room until Barnsley says ‘let’s start slow’. But if they don’t buy into it and it becomes a problem, there must be consequences.

“They showed on Tuesday night and in other games that they could defend, and there has to be that responsibility for the players as well. I don’t think it’s a question of structure because we don’t give up huge chances every game and the xGA is good.

“Most of the time it’s an individual mistake or a lack of concentration and we get punished and it hurts us. So we have to remove that if we want to give ourselves a chance.

The race for the top six in the championship is tighter than it has ever been in the last two months of the season. Luton and Boro are just two of many teams still hoping to secure one of the four play-off spots.

And Wilder thinks consistency will be key, as he has called for concentration from his players.

He concluded: “There is still a lot of football to play, and some clubs who are on incredible paths.

“There’s still a lot to play for and it’s all about consistency. That’s what has been disappointing in our last two away games, this lack of consistency in these small periods.

“So what we’re looking for is to be consistent throughout the campaign up to Preston. We’ve had a fabulous comeback and now it’s about trying to go on a long unbeaten streak.

“You look at Huddersfield and what they’ve done. We turned them around and from there they went on a 17-game unbeaten streak, which is awesome. Everyone is looking for that by the end of the season, and I think any team that can get there will be there. »

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