Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate quizzed on high pressing and his philosophy ahead of Birmingham City clash

Middlesbrough need to pick and choose when they try to press teams high up the pitch, according to head coach Jonathan Woodgate.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 12:45 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 5:42 pm
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate.

The Boro boss has previously spoken about playing an attacking brand of football and winning the ball back quickly, but knows his side need to find a balance.

In his first press conference back in June, Woodgate said: “Firstly, I want to pass the ball. Pass the ball, keep the ball, I want players to run with the ball, it's important that when you lose the ball you win it back as quickly as possible.

“Obviously don't go gung-ho, there are times to press and to know when to press. That's my philosophy, that's what I want to do. I want to win games scoring goals. If you look at this league now, you go up by scoring goals.”

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That high-pressing game was clear to see in Boro’s first few fixtures this season, particularly against Brenford at the Riverside in Woodgate’s first home game in charge.

But, in recent weeks, the side have seemed a little more reluctant to go chasing the ball, as shown by their possession stats (43 per cent) against Preston on Tuesday night.

With a need to get results, Woodgate has spoken about tweaking his tactics but did stick with his preferred 4-3-3 formation in midweek.

Boro were away to Birmingham on Friday night – go online for all the details.

Meanwhile, Woodgate was full of praise for midfielder Marcus Tavernier following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Preston – but has defended his decision to be patient with the youngster.

Tavernier, 20, was handed his first league start of the season against the Lillywhites and was a constant threat cutting in from the right flank.

Woodgate has repeatedly praised Tavernier for his application and hard work in training, yet, up until the Preston game, the player had racked up just 38 minutes in the Championship this season.

When asked why Tavernier hadn’t played more in Boro’s first nine league games, Woodgate replied: “He played the game against Crewe and didn't do great in that game. Listen, people get chances in the game and he took his chance the other night I thought he played really well and hopefully we’ll get more.”