How ex-Liverpool and Tottenham striker Robbie Keane is helping Middlesbrough's attacking players
New Middlesbrough coach Robbie Keane is already making his mark on the Rockliffe training pitches, with his work coming to fruition in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Hartlepool.
It’s no secret the Teessiders struggled in front of goal last season (only four teams in the Championship scored less) and head coach Jonthan Woodgate is desperate to improve the side’s attacking output this term.
The addition of Keane, who scored over 100 Premier League goals during an accomplished playing career, to Boro’s coaching staff should make a difference,
Boro were clinical in the final third against Pools at the Super 6 Stadium, as goals from Marcus Tavernier, Rudy Gestede, Aden Flint and George Saville secured the win.
When asked about Boro’s impressive finishing, Woodgate said: “Keano's been on about it all week saying 'sidefoots, sidefoots, sidefoots’.There's no need to blast it, just caress it into the net and was probably one of the best at doing it.
“And if you look at the finishes that's what they were – sidefoots. Keano's been working on it in training, he's been telling. It's all things we are working on in training but it takes time.”
Woodgate has repeatedly said he wants to play an attacking brand of football this season, taking inspiration from the likes of Norwich and Bournemouth who have won the Championship by scoring over 90 goals in previous years.
In a 4-3-3 set-up which Woodgate wants to play, two of the three central midfielders should be given more licence to get forward compared to the previous regime, as shown by Saville’s finish against Pools.
Paddy McNair, who was often deployed in defence under former manager Tony Pulis, looks like he’ll be given a similar attacking midfield role after playing alongside Saville at the Super 6 Stadium.
“I want to be one of those managers who wins games by scoring goals, it's as simple as that,” added Woodgate after the Pools win.
“We need to commit bodies forward and we need to do it better even though we won 4-0. But it's a start and it's only the third game of pre-season.”