Sheffield Wednesday: Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate on 'handful' Owls strike force

Sheffield Wednesday’s ‘big unit’ strike force of Steven Fletcher and Atdhe Nuhiu were too much of a handful for Middlesbrough today, admitted Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 7:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 8:08 pm
Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate

Boro lost 4-1 at the Riverside after an aerial assault from Wednesday saw all goals scored in the first half.

Fletcher scored himself and Nuhiu was a nuisance throughout. Monk admitted he had ‘seen a weakness’ in Boro dealing with crosses.

Woodgate, overseeing his ninth game as a manager after his appointment in the summer, said the pair were two good on the day, but that his defenders weren’t good enough.

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He said: “The goals we conceded early on were very, very disappointing, from a coaching point of view.

“Then we get back into the game and concede another two. It’s not good enough at all.

“I played a few games at centre-half as you know, and you pride yourself on winning your aerial battles.

“I played against a lot of different players who were big units but you find a way of beating them in the air. It’s about getting yourself in the right position, it’s about determination, wanting it more. We didn’t want it enough in that first half.”

Woodgate was forced to bring on 6ft4 Daniel Ayala in at half-time and Boro coped with that aerial threat much better in the second half. But the damage was done.

Asked whether he has expected Wednesday to start with two up top, the former England international had no excuses.

“We thought they’d do that,” Woodgate said. “They were a real handful, by the way, Fletch and Nuhiu up front.

“Likewise their two centre-backs were very good also. Fair play to them.”