'Top players need the help' - Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock makes this squad admission ahead of Nottingham Forest clash
It’s been a challenging start to the season for Neil Warnock and his Middlesbrough side, who sit a disappointing 18th in the Championship table ahead of tonight’s meeting with Nottingham Forest.
Boro had hoped to be involved in the Championship play-off conversation heading into the campaign but will need to improve their early season form of just one win in six games if they are to force a charge up the table.
The Teessiders are already six points behind Queens Park Rangers, who currently occupy sixth spot.
And the Boro boss has been quizzed about whether or not a run of four games without a win has led to him needing to put an arm around some of his players’ shoulders ahead of tonight’s game at the City Ground.
“Top players need the help. It’s not always natural,” he explained.
“Defenders don’t need help. Anybody can be a defender, just stop them playing and kick it and head it.
“Your lads who create and excite, they’re the ones that get the stick and the praise and they’re the ones you need to love and help them more.”
One of those players to have excited Boro supporters in the early part of the season is 22-year-old Isaiah Jones who has surprisingly featured in all six league games this season.
Jones is one of the players to have benefited from the injuries which are disrupting Warnock’s squad, including summer signing Sammy Ameobi who is yet to feature so far this term due to a knee injury.
And Warnock has suggested players like Jones are the ones who need encouragement when results aren’t going your way.
“I always say to forwards like Isaiah (Jones) ‘Don’t worry, take them on. Don’t worry about losing it in their half of the pitch. I’ll never ever tell you off. I’ve got a lot of time for them.
“Sometimes the more you try, the more you get in a hole so it will be a new experience for some of them and they’ll have to work it out for themselves now and hopefully be ready to go again.”