There was praise for Jonathan Woodgate, Britt Assombalonga, and some calm words from the head coach after our 1-0 win against Wigan. Here's the media view...
Jonathan Woodgate grabbed his first win as Middlesbrough boss after a little Britt of magic.
The ex-England defender had failed to win any of his four games in charge of bis boyhood club. But Woodgate claimed a morakle boosting, if ugly victory - as his faith in striker Britt Assombalonga was repaid.
Former boss Tony Pulis never fancied the club's £15m record signing, even though he ended up Boro's top scorer in the past two seasons. Yet, Woodgate has backed Assombalonga from the start of his Riverside reign.
His (Woodgate's) match-winner has been Boro’s top scorer in each of the past two seasons but, by his own admission, finished last term with his confidence shot with Pulis having made no secret of his mistrust of the striker.
Woodgate, though, has put his arm around the 26-year-old, who remains the club’s record signing at £15million from Nottingham Forest two years ago. The new boss cannot afford to write off such assets, especially given a new era of austerity at the Riverside.
And perhaps a bit of love was all that Assombalonga needed, for he looked at one with himself here.
Boro were soon at 1-0 thanks to his thumping header from Jonny Howson’s whipped centre on 23 minutes.
Belief restored, Assombalonga was only denied a second by the legs of goalkeeper David Marshall after he had skipped clear of two defenders on the fringe of the area.
The hosts, though, had survived a couple of early scares when striker Jamal Lowe, who snubbed a summer move to Boro in favour of Wigan, fired narrowly wide on two occasions after seizing on some sloppy defending.
But the maximum return leaves Boro just three points off second place with the visit of Millwall to come on Saturday, Suddenly, things are looking up for Woodgate. It’s amazing what a win can do.
Jonathan Woodgate got to toast the first win of his managerial career on Teesside last night before providing a timely reality-check after a victory that left him smiling.
Despite having to withstand plenty of pressure from an attack-minded Wigan Athletic at the Riverside Stadium, the Middlesbrough head coach got to savour his first three points since succeeding Tony Pulis.
The victory was achieved courtesy of Britt Assombalonga’s 23rd minute header from Jonny Howson’s stunning delivery, ending Middlesbrough’s four match winless run under Woodgate.
The 39-year-old walked was clearly a satisfied man when the final whistle marked the end of five minutes of added time and some late attacks from the Latics, as he walked into the middle of the pitch to applaud the fans and his players.
But by the time he had emerged from the dressing room and faced the media, Woodgate had already taken a deep breath and warned that the elusive win is only the start of what he wants Middlesbrough to go on and achieve – and he does not expect it to be smooth.
Jonathan Woodgate said Middlesbrough remain “a work in progress” despite his first win as head coach against Wigan.
Britt Assombalonga’s 23rd-minute header was enough to seal Woodgate’s first three points since succeeding Tony Pulis in the summer. But the Middlesbrough manager, knowing his team were far from convincing, does not want anyone to get carried away and has warned that there will be peaks and troughs throughout his first season in charge.
“It feels great but the secret is, even when you lose, you don’t get too low and when you win don’t get too high, so stay level-headed,” said Woodgate. “I have said numerous times now, this is a work in progress and I have said to the fans, it is going to be a rocky road.”
Woodgate celebrated with clenched fists and handshakes with his staff. Relief all around.