Chris Wilder full of praise for Middlesbrough’s passionate following

Chris Wilder says Middlesbrough’s players can feel – and hear – their supporters fully behind them and that they are right to share the joy of the club’s recent good form after so long apart.

There were ecstatic scenes in the Bloomfield Road away section as over 3,000 supporters celebrated a win that looked as if it had been snatched away from their team by Shane Lavery’s stoppage-time equaliser for Blackpool on Wednesday. The players lapped it up, going over to celebrate with the fans after Duncan Watmore’s dramatic winner, and again seconds later when the final whistle blew.

That they were celebrations more in keeping with a win to secure promotion than three points at a mid-table Blackpool side showed the importance of the victory and manager Wilder made no apology for them.

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“If you want a positive second half of the season you’re going to have nights like Wednesday and I’m not embarrassed to enjoy a win,” he said after the 2-1 success.

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder (left) celebrates with Uche Ikpeazu after winning at Blackpool on Wednesday (Picture: PA)

“People might say we were celebrating as if we’d done this and done that but we’d won a game of football in front of three-and-a-half thousand of our supporters who didn’t know if the game was on or off (because of the Covid and injury problems at Blackpool) and have travelled over and been incredibly committed all night.

“Why can’t we?

“We got 30,000 at the weekend, we sold out at Huddersfield, sell-out at Stoke, a decent crowd against Bournemouth in these times, a sell-out at Blackpool and at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

“I think the connection between supporters and players is huge and we’re going to have nights like Wednesday where we don’t play well – or as well as I would have liked – but it’s about getting the result, keeping it going, finding a different way to win a game and we did that. We’re delighted and we’re delighted the supporters went home happy.

Middlesbrough's players celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship match at Bloomfield Road (Picture: Nick Potts/PA)

“We were in lockdown for a ridiculously long period and people were cooped up wanting to go and watch their football team.

“This football club is the centre of the town, the centre of the area. We all want it to do well and they get right behind it. It means so much to people.

“It’s not a season-defining result, we understand that. There’s still 21 (Championship) games to go but it was a big result enjoyed by everybody.

“They feel that and they back their team.”

Middlesbrough's players celebrate with the fans after the late victory at Blackpool (Picture: Nick Potts/PA)