Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock won't reflect on managerial record until he retires as Boro boss prepares for West Brom trip
Neil Warnock admits it has been an emotional week as the Middlesbrough boss set the record for the number of games managed in English football.
Warnock’s seat in the dugout at Kenilworth Road during Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat against Luton Town was the 1,062nd time he led a team, eclipsing the record set by former Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi.
But the 72-year-old says the time for reflection on his career, which has seen eight promotions from 14 different clubs, will come when he finally steps away from the game to retire, with this year at the Riverside set to be his final in management.
“I've had my moments this week,” Warnock admitted.
“It's a tremendous achievement. I know how proud I am that I've got to this number but it’s tainted with the disappointment of losing the last couple of games so you’re quickly onto the next.
“I think probably the time when I'll look back will be when I retire,” he added.
“I’ve had hundreds of messages this week and I’m trying to reply to them all. Some nice messages from some good people and I appreciate that.”
But for the time being it is business as usual for Warnock, much like it has been for the past four decades, as he prepares his Boro side for a challenging trip to the Hawthorns to take on promotion chasing West Bromwich Albion.
The Baggies have yet to taste defeat at home this season and face a Boro side who Warnock admits are leaking too many cheap goals in recent weeks including three in five minutes against the Hatters on Tuesday.
“[There are too many] lapses in concentration and not winning your battles and being intimidated,” he said.
“We looked at every goal we’ve conceded and there’s some real sloppy goals.
“Before this week I think we were almost the best defence in the league, so don’t get carried away, we just didn’t compete in certain areas. The second and third goals are Sunday league - it doesn’t matter what league you’re in if you concede goals like that. We’ve got to be more determined to keep our goal in tact.”
Warnock added: “We’ve had a mixture of goals like you’ve never seen really. The only goal we couldn't do much about was Blackburn Rovers here and the lad stuck one in from 20 yards. Other than that it’s absolutely terrible some of the goals we’ve conceded.
“We conceded bad goals when we had a full squad so you can't just say it’s down to people playing in different positions. I can accept that in part, but you’ve just got to try and eliminate mistakes.
“Tomorrow we’ll be really tested. If you're West Brom and you look at us the other night I think I know what's going to be coming.”
Despite inconsistency troubling Boro’s campaign, the Teessiders remain just four points shy of the play-off places in what is shaping up to be another incredibly tight Championship season.
“We haven't got to get too far away from the top six,” admitted Warnock.
“I don't think there’s ever been a closer league in my time than what’s happening at the minute and I'm pleased about that because it means we aren't getting left too far behind.”