Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has admitted he is ‘gutted’ his side could not beat Preston North End on Tuesday night, but was pleased with the reaction offered by the Boro players, as quoted by Teesside Live.
Boro succumbed to their latest setback at home to Preston on matchday 10 of the campaign, having won just two of their opening Championship fixtures and taking a point against the Deepdale natives thanks to an own goal by Darnell Fisher.
Middlesbrough welcomed Preston to the Riverside Stadium looking for a show of resilience after Sheffield Wednesday beat them 4-1 at the weekend, a result which left Boro 19th in the table and just four points above the drop zone.
The Owls did not play Boro off the park to achieve their comfortable win, either, as Garry Monk’s visitors enjoyed less time in possession and were forced to make 26 tackles to the hosts’ 15, according to WhoScored data.
It was a similar story against Preston on Tuesday, as well, as Woodgate’s men unleashed more shots than Alex Neil’s in-form Lilywhites, and forced the Deepdale natives into more tackles.
Keeping Preston to a point as they extended their unbeaten streak to seven league games pleased Woodgate, who took note of Boro’s players offering him the sort of reaction he requested ahead of kick-off.
“I was pleased with that display,” he said. “To be honest, I thought we deserved the win, we had a lot of the chances. I can’t remember a save Darren [Randolph] had to make, their keeper made a number of saves.
“I’m gutted to not get the three points, but it’s a step in the right direction. I thought there were a lot of good performances: Jonny Howson coming back from surgery, [Marcus] Tavernier and [Marcus] Browne were really good, [and Paddy] McNair was outstanding. We need to build on that on Friday against Birmingham.”
Woodgate was given many reasons to be optimistic after the game that Boro were on the up by keeping Preston to a point, as the Deepdale side hold one of the best offences in the Championship with 18 goals to their name – only Fulham can boast the same after hitting 10-man Reading for four on Tuesday.
Despite their prolific nature to date, Middlesbrough kept Neil’s men to just one shot on target from nine attempts, with Boro offering a firm line of defence with six blocks, three of which came from Tavernier, per WhoScored data.
Tavernier also led the game for shots attempted (six) and on target (two), while McNair offered a threat from further back with three successful dribbles, with only Ben Pearson completing more with four.
Friday night’s clash with Birmingham will be a good chance for Woodgate to see that same defence thrive and hope the chances they create are actually converted.
Has Jonathan Woodgate got what it takes?
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