Jonathan Woodgate explains how he nullified West Brom threat after Hawthorns win

Jonathan Woodgate recorded his first away win as Middlesbrough boss.Jonathan Woodgate recorded his first away win as Middlesbrough boss.
Jonathan Woodgate recorded his first away win as Middlesbrough boss.
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate changed his side’s formation at West Brom to stop Baggies playmaker Matheus Pereira.

Boro ran out 2-0 winners at the Hawthorns, their first away win of the season, to stun Slaven Bilic’s side who started the day at the top of the Championship.

A Daniel Ayala header on 17 minutes and stunning strike from Ashley Fletcher in stoppage time moved the Teessiders nine points clear of the relegation zone after three successive wins.

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Woodgate once again tweaked his formation to match West Brom up in a 4-2-3-1 formation – a decision which paid off.

“I thought it was an excellent performance from start to finish, I thought we deserved to win the game,” said Woodgate after the match.

“We created the chances, pressed them high up the pitch, played with two holding midfield players to nullify Pereria which is a massive thing, he’s their best player, he’s top draw.”

Fletcher was once again asked to lead the line on his own but received support from wingers Djed Spence and Marcus Tavernier, as well as Lewis Wing who operated in the No 10 position.

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“We knew we wanted to press and press high,” added Woodgate. “If you look at the front four with Fletch and the two wide men getting after them it makes it easier for your defenders if you are putting pressure on them high up the pitch.”

On the system, the Boro boss added: “We’ve only had one day to work with them really, only about 20 minutes yesterday. You show them video work and if you go into the game with that sort of plan and try to nullify their threat.

"On the break we looked really, really dangerous.The players gave me everything they had out there so I’m really pleased.

“Away from home we have drawn five games this season but we could have easily won three of them so it’s not exactly like we were coming in struggling. We knew that win would come sooner or later.”