Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate reacts to FC Heidenheim defeat

Head coach Jonathan Woodgate says there are positives to take from Middlesbrough’s 5-1 defeat to 1. FC Heidenheim – despite the one-sided scoreline.

By Joe Nicholson
Sunday, 21 July, 2019, 15:50
Jonathan Woodgate believes there were positives to take from Middlesbrough's defeat to FC Heidenheim.

Boro took an early lead against the second-tier German side after Heidenheim’s Mamon Busch put through his own net in the 19th minute.

Yet the visitors conceded five goals in the final 25 minutes to suffer their second loss of pre-season, with less than two weeks to go until the Teessiders’ Championship opener at Luton on August 2.

“No-one likes getting beat, but it’s pre-season,” Woodgate told the club’s website after the game. “I will still take positives from it, and I’ve learnt so much from that game. I’ve learnt about players, and what we need as a team going forward.”

Boro named a strong side in Germany but were without several first-team players against a Heidenheim squad who are just a week away from their new campaign.

Goalkeeper Darren Randolph was injured while Martin Braithwaite (ill) and Britt Assombalonga, who has just returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, didn’t travel.

Meanwhile, George Friend, Adam Clayton and Marvin Johnson all featured for Boro’s under-23s side against Bishop Auckland – which Boro won 7-1.

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That allowed Woodgate to give game time to a handful of the club’s younger players, as Nathan Wood, Terry Stephenson, Isaiah Jones and Djed Spence were all introduced in the second half.

“We gave a few younger lads an opportunity towards the end, and I’ll take the positives from that,” added Woodgate.

“You see a lot in these types of games, things I don’t like and things I do, like good character. We’ll look through it all again on Monday.

“The real test will be the start of the season, and the end of the season.”

Boro now face a quick turnaround with a game against EFL newcomers Salford City at the Peninsula Stadium on Tuesday night.

Woodgate’s side will then play their final tune-up game against Saint-Etienne at the Riverside on Sunday, July 28.