Jonathan Woodgate explains tactical decision after Preston victory
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate went with his gut feeling to select striker Rudy Gestede against Preston - a decision which paid off.
The Boro frontman didn’t start a single game in 2019 due to a series of injury setbacks but was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI at Deepdale.
Gestede opened the scoring in a 2-0 win over the Lillywhites before an own goal from Preston defender Ben Davies secured Boro’s fourth straight Championship win.
Following a shock victory over West Brom last week, Woodgate made two changes to his side and changed formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-5-2.
Marvin Johnson was also recalled to the side to play as a wing-back as Hayden Coulson and Lewis Wing dropped to the bench.
When asked if he considered sticking with a winning team, Woodgate replied: “No, you stay with your gut feeling.
“You analyse teams, I analysed Preston and if we had got beat I’d have got some criticism but it was the right decision.
“It was the right decision to bring Rudy in and to play Marvin. You have to look after players like Hayden Coulson, who have played three games in six days, the same with Wingy, they are young players.
Gestede had been sidelined since the start of October with a hamstring injury but was a real handful on his return.
“I told Rudy Gestede he was playing two days before the West Brom game,” replied Woodgate when quizzed on the frontman.
“I said that’s your game so go and get yourself set, you are going to play that game. I thought he was unplayable at times.”
The result leaves Boro just seven points off the play-off places after an excellent festive period.
Still, Woodgate isn’t looking too far ahead
“Let’s not get carried away,” added the Boro boss when asked about the league table.
“It’s going to be a rocky road again, I’ve come through a period which was really tough, we are going to get that again.
“It’s going to be tough and if you look at the squad that we’ve got it’s tough but your team spirit comes into play.”