Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate reveals his half-time message after Luton draw

Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate felt his players gave everything during their 3-3 draw with Luton on Friday night, despite letting two points slip through the net.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 10:59 am
Jonathan Woodgate took charge of his first competitive game as Middlesbrough head coach against Luton.

Boro came from 2-1 down to lead 3-2 at Kenilworth Road before Hatters striker James Collins equalised with five minutes to go.

The visitors improved significantly after half-time as they retook control of the game, and Woodgate was happy with how his players responded.

“Unbelievable. What a game of football,” said Woodgate after the match. “It was eventful, especially in the second half, we really went out to win the game. I thought we were excellent, especially how we controlled it in the second half.

“We pressed high, we left ourselves a little open, that’s how I want to play. I want to press teams, score goals from day one.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Boro were overran in midfield for large spells in the opening 45 minutes but looked far more potent after the interval.

When asked about his half-time message, Woodgate added: “At half-time I told them to press higher and to play. We were hitting too many balls in the first half, that’s not me I want to play.

“In the first half Lewis (Wing) and Paddy (McNair) were just running forwards and we had no options. All Jonny (Howson) could see was the back of their shirts. It’s important they got on the ball, controlled the game. We controlled it better in the second half.”

Boro had the chance to put the game beyond doubt when they were awarded a penalty at 3-2, yet Britt Assombalonga fired over the crossbar.

Even so, Woodgate is confident the striker will bounce back.

“Britt, it’s one of those things,” Woodgate added. “Britt will take the next one and score, if he misses that one he will score the next.

“He is a nine and I have a lot of confidence in Britt Assombalonga. He is going to score goals all season. He was disappointed, it’s my job to lift him and too right I will lift him. I will back him all the way.”