Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate explains tactical decision after Nottingham Forest draw

Jonathan Woodgate was pleased with the way his players adapted after Middlesbrough changed formation to claim a valuable 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 10:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 8:40 am
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate.

Boro were forced to defend for large spells against a side fighting for promotion this season, but came away with a point after Paddy McNair converted a penalty nine minutes from time.

Woodgate’s side started the match with a back three and wing-backs but switched to a back four after falling behind to Ryan Yates’ 63rd-minute header.

Boro also had to tweak their shape to stop Forest’s overlapping full-backs, Jack Robinson and Matty Cash, who caused problems in the first half.

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To combat that, Woodgate pushed winger Marcus Tavernier and full-back Djed Spence further forward.

“That’s why we put the two higher in the second half, Tav and Djed to stop their full-backs coming forward,” said Woodgate. “I think that was the main reason we got back into the game and got more of a foothold in the game.

“My players are versatile, they can do that, look at Howson again tonight, he played centre-back, played right-back, god knows where he’ll play on Saturday.

Woodgate was also pleased with the way his younger players rose to the occasion and how Boro responded after falling behind.

“We’ve come back a few times this season if you look at the games away from home especially we’ve come from behind.

“It’s a good point, these are a good team, have got some top players and if you look at the bench they have a really good bench as well.

“I’m really pleased for the young lads who are playing and stepping up to the mark, Coulson, Spence, Tavernier, Fry, Walker comes on, you’ve got O’Neill, Wood, Liddle on the bench, all young kids and they are getting opportunities.”

On McNair’s late penalty, Woodgate added: “He’s got that quality hasn’t he, look at the pass for Marvin Johnson, the way Marvin runs inside (for the penalty). We dropped Paddy a bit deeper when we brought (Adam) Clayton off and he put that pass in.

“It was an excellent pen, it was never in doubt that pen, I was really confident.”