'Absolutely no existent': Neil Warnock slams performance of Middlesbrough's attacking players and explains Britt Assombalonga’s absence at Millwall

Neil Warnock heavily criticised his side’s forward players after Middlesbrough’s 1-0 defeat at Millwall, questioning their effort levels.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 7:05 pm

A Grant Hall own goal in the first half proved the difference between the two sides, as Boro missed the chance to close the gap on the Championship play-off places.

After Marcus Tavernier was forced off with an injury just before the interval, Warnock made three changes at half-time, when Djed Spence, Chuba Akpom and Yannick Bolasie were withdrawn.

"It was one of the most frustrating afternoons this season,” Warnock told BBC Tees after the match. “The first half just wasn’t acceptable.

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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

“I thought the forwards were very, very poor. We are at Millwall, you have to be determined, you have to graft and I didn’t see that at all in the first half, hence the changes and Tav coming off injured.

“I thought there was a reaction in the second half and we played some decent stuff on a difficult pitch without creating many clear chances.

The Boro boss also added: “I’ve never been as disappointed in strikers as I was today, I thought they were absolutely no existent in the first half. You can’t play without strikers.”

“I didn’t see any effort whatsoever from the three of them, I can’t tell you what it was about if I’m honest. I changed it at half-time because I wanted at least people who were going to put their head in where it hurt.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, if we play like we did in the first half we aren’t going to get another point.

“We were that poor attacking-wise, I apologised to Grant and Dael (Fry) who didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.”

Boro striker Britt Assombalonga was once again left out of the squad after Warnock said he had been struggling with a hamstring issue.

Teenager Josh Coburn took the final place on Boro’s substitutes bench, and when asked if Assombalonga was still injured, Warnock replied: “He’s fit enough I just decided it was time to give Josh a bit of experience away from home.

“I thought I would probably bring Fletch on ahead of him, so no he was fit to be selected.”

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