Middlesbrough boss has message to Championship play-off rivals Sheffield United and Luton Town

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder believes his side’s 3-1 win against Stoke puts them in “decent nick” going into their final game.

By PA
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 8:00 pm
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder. PA.
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder. PA.

Lewis Baker scored a first-half own goal and Crooks struck in each half before Nick Powell scored a stoppage-time consolation for the Potters.

The result keeps Middlesbrough’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes alive as the race to secure a spot comes down to the final day of the season.

Wilder praised his side’s performance and was pleased with their “hard-to-beat” attitude.

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He said: “We wanted a Middlesbrough home performance and I thought we had that. I thought out of possession we were really good, we were structured, we were hard to beat, hard to break down.

Stoke have got some talented boys, they are third in the form table, a huge club in the division, everybody understands that.

“If you look at the team sheet and players that weren’t available, might have been missing through injury, even then they are bringing on Steven Fletcher and Nick Powell, they are bringing on some really good players.”

Middlesbrough travel to Preston on the final day in a must-win game and can currently catch Luton or Sheffield United to secure a play-off place, but Wilder stressed the permutations are uncontrollable.

“You can’t control stuff like that, I don’t think it’s any good getting caught up in trying to work out who does what or who doesn’t, the psychology aspect of it.

“There’s a thousand things you can chuck into the mix. The one thing you can control is your performance and I thought it was a great performance in terms of control of the game, which we did.

“I thought the control we had, the details in terms of our play was really good and I was delighted with the level of performance really.

“I would have taken a scrappy 1-0 win, I think we all would have, but I think the way we played can hold us in good stead that we go into next week in decent nick.”