Britt Assombalonga reveals verdict on Middlesbrough strike partner Ashley Fletcher and boss Jonathan Woodgate
Middlesbrough striker Britt Assombalonga has delivered his verdict on strike partner Ashley Fletcher after his goal provided manager Jonathan Woodgate with his first Championship win.
Boro started the season with a thrilling 3-3 draw against newly-promoted Luton Town before losing to Brentford and Blackburn.
However, the 26-year-old forward’s 23rd-minute goal against Wigan propelled Boro to their first league win of the season at the Riverside Stadium
Assombalonga started up-front with the ex-Manchester United, West Ham and Sunderland man Fletcher, the two combining well throughout the game.
“I enjoy playing with Fletch,” the Congolese striker said. “He's so good on the ball, his movement and playing one-twos. It's nice to play with him this season.
“Long may it continue.”
The former Nottingham Forest and Peterborough United player then revealed the secret behind the pair’s blossoming partnership.
“We're good mates off the pitch and that helps.
“It's good, you push each other. You speak off the pitch. On the pitch we just have that understanding.
“I put my head up looking for him, he does the same with me. It's just instinctive.
“It just comes natural. We try to be close and play together, that's what the manager wants.”
The striker is relishing life under new boss Woodgate, who took charge in the summer after Tony Pulis departed after 18-months in charge at the Riverside.
Assombalonga added: "Everything is good. Training is fantastic, it's very sharp.
"Everyone respects the gaffer a lot and everyone is enjoying every minute on the training pitch.
"He's always brought a good vibe around the place, regardless of being part of the coaching staff and now being the manager. He's always brought that bubbly vibe. It's rubbing off on all the boys, we're just slowly trying to click.
"He's good at that (man management). He always encourages. Not just me. He makes sure he makes everyone feel happy and feel good.Everyone respects that. We needed that win.
"We needed that goal to come at that time. It was perfect.
"We started playing a bit better after the goal and had more confidence on the ball.
"Defensively we were really good. Everyone knew their jobs and worked hard for each other."