Why Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate changed his formation at Cardiff

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate didn’t think his side showed enough quality in possession during their 1-0 defeat at Cardiff.

Saturday, 21st September 2019, 5:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 6:03 pm
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate changed his formation at Cardiff.

The Teessiders found themselves on the back foot from the off after Ashley Fletcher’s own goal in the third minute of the match.

Boro failed to register a single effort on target after that and Woodgate was disappointed with his side’s lack of creativity.

“You have to match Cardiff physically,” said the Boro boss. “I thought we did that throughout the game but we didn't show enough quality on the ball, we didn't create enough chances for our forwards who were basically starved of the ball."

“I thought at times we did ok but it was that final ball, the final ball could have been played through with more quality which didn’t happen.

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“You need to come here and roll your sleeves up and graft. I thought we did that but the passing wasn’t good enough and we show that every day in training, that’s the disappointing thing.”

Woodgate switched formation to a back three at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Marvin Johnson and Anfenee Dijksteel operating as wing-backs.

Despite the result, Woodgate still believed it was the correct decision to try and match Cardiff’s physicality.

When asked why he changed the system, Woodgate said: “Because we had to deal with their physicality and how they get balls into the box, they loaded up on the left-hand side of the pitch really to dominate.

“But like I say we dominated in that area, we matched them with Marvin as a winger playing wing-back.”

The change of shape meant Boro forwards Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga started up front together yet Woodgate didn’t feel his attacking players received enough service.

“I had the two up front playing closer together,” added Woodgate.

“Today they were closer, at times they did cause problems but not enough, they needed more service.

“I thought it was the right system to play and I still think it was the right decision.”