Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock tips former club Sheffield United to challenge for promotion after making "kick up backside" claim

Neil Warnock, the Middlesbrough manager, insists his former club Sheffield United will “not be far away” from promotion come the end of the season after suggesting Boro’s midweek victory could give the Blades a “kick up the backside” that inspires them for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:30 pm

Under Warnock’s successor Slavisa Jokanović, the Blades had appeared to be recovering from a slow start that saw them pick up two points from their first five league games, after going five matches without defeat before their trip to the Riverside.

There, goals from Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair sentenced them to defeat against their old boss’s side – who afterwards paid tribute to both the Blades and their manager, Jokanović.

“I think you saw our ruthless side as well, getting the clean sheet,” Warnock said.

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“We had to be ruthless at times because they’ve got good players and they pass it around… if you’re not organised and know what you’re doing, they’ll rip through you because that’s how they are.

“I don’t know whether we caught them off guard a little - because I thought we played some good stuff, which might have just thrown them a bit - but they’re a good side and I think he’s a good manager.

“It’s a great choice from my old club, I think.

“I’ve always got a lot of time for him and he knows it’s always hard against me. We always have battles, from when he was at Fulham.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock on the touchline against Sheffield United: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

“I’m sure they’ll do well for the rest of the season now. Sometimes you need a kick up the backside when you’re one of the top sides, and I’m sure they’ll not be far away.”