Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock hopes that Barnsley FC go up

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Neil Warnock cast aside disappointment at his side’s 2-0 loss at Oakwell to stress that he hopes that Barnsley go up this season - while adding a caveat.

Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael exchanges pleasantries with Middlesbrough rival Neil Warnock. PICTURE: BRUCE ROLLINSON.

Warnock’s Boro side competed well for an hour, only for a howler from Marcus Bettinelli to gift the hosts an opener and it was the cue for Valerien Ismael’s Reds to take over and run out comfortable 2-0 victors as they moved a step closer to Championship play-off participation.

Warnock said: “They deserve everything that they get for the massive amount of running they are doing.

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“But I don’t think some of my lads would enjoy playing in that team. I don’t think Paddy McNair would fit in or Grant Hall or Johnny Howson.

“But listen, there is no divine right and I hope they go up. I love it here and am glad I only have to come once (as a manager) as you have to report on it every week.”

Dismissing talk that Barnsley’s current line-up bear similarities to his successful side at Sheffield United, Warnock - who played for the Oakwell outfit for a spell in the Seventies and has consistently said that his time at the club was most enjoyable spell of his playing career - added: “My Sheffield United side, I am not being funny, but I think Chris Morgan looked like *Franz) Beckenbauer in comparison with them (Barnsley’s defensive three).

“They don’t think about anything but hoofing it straightaway, do they?

“There is no bringing it down and trying to play. I think my Sheffield United (side) had more than that if I am honest. (Phil) Jagielka and people like that.

“But the (Barnsley) spirit has got to be fantastic. I was talking to some of the staff beforehand and I hope they go up as they will ruffle a few feathers.”

A painful concession saw Bettinelli get his radar completely wrong and fail to cope with Alex Mowatt’s corner to present Barnsley with a soft opener on 62 minutes - with Daryl Dike adding a second in the 75th minute.

Warnock commented: “What can you say about a goal like that, really.

“I don’t think they had any idea how to break us down and then we give away a goal like that...I think my missus would be disappointed looking at that….

“I apologized to Jonny Howson in there as I absolutely felt he was man of the match and covered every blade of grass. I said: ‘You did not deserve to be on the losing side today, Johnny - but trust me, you will enjoy it next season.’

“It was a day to say what we have been saying over the past few weeks, really - that we need to improve the squad and this demonstrated where we need to improve.

“I thought we played ideally against Barnsley as I don’t think some teams like coming out against them and they will not get away with that next year and they have got to try and go up and ruffle a few feathers at the top level as I don’t think they will get away with it at this level two seasons on the trot.”