Middlesbrough were thumped 3-0 by Aston Villa on Saturday with Tony Pulis’ men in serious danger of relinquishing their top-six spot.
Having occupied a place in the play-off places all season, a run of three straight defeats has seen the chasing pack close the gap.
Muhamed Besic was left out of Pulis’ starting eleven on Saturday following a poor run of form.
The midfielder is on-loan from Everton and it has been hoped he could play his way into Marco Silva’s side during his stint at the Riverside Stadium.
Things haven’t really gone according to plan.
Besic has played sufficient football but simply hasn’t cut the mustard in the Championship.
During his 15-game spell at Boro during the second part of last season, he proved an astute signing.
His presence in the midfielder guided Boro to the play-offs and prompted Pulis to ask him back for a second spell.
Besic has a contract at Goodison Park worth £30k-a-week (Spotrac) until 2021 and at 26 it was hoped that he could build up some momentum and then challenge for a first-team place next season.
On current form that prospect looks further away than ever and it seems somewhat unlikely that he will add to his 56 Everton appearances.
Pulis’ direct style of football might not have helped his case to hit top form.
Nonetheless, his performances with Boro won’t aid his cause for another opportunity under Silva.