Middlesbrough win over Reading as good as it gets, says Neil Warnock

MIDDLESBROUGH won for the second match in a row to boost their chances of qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs.

Challenge: Reading's Josh Laurent and Middlesbrough's Sam Morsy battle for the ball.

“I thought it was a good performance and, if I’m honest, I thought that we were in the mood before the game,” revealed Boro manager Neil Warnock.

“Even in the hotel beforehand, though I know that sounds silly. All the lads knew what they were doing and put it all out there. I thought that we were very good tactically.

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“That was probably as good a performance – against a good side – since I’ve been here really.

“It’s great (that we’re getting closer to the play-offs). But we’ve got to keep this up now.

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“All the boys produced good performances. Against a good team, I thought that we looked a good team. We’re still probably punching above our weight but we’ve just got to enjoy this moment. I think that we’re four points off safety now!”

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic labelled his side’s display as “unacceptable”.

Although Reading started brightly, Boro moved 2-0 ahead before half-time through smart finishes from Ashley Fletcher and Marc Bola.

Reading dominated much of the second period but Boro proved resilient at the back and held on for a comfortable win.

It was the Berkshire side’s third successive home defeat.

“We can’t afford to lose these games at home,” said Paunovic. “We don’t have the advantage of supporters, but we have to do better to control our environment here.”

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Morrison, McIntyre; Richards (Gibson 46), Rinomhota, Laurent, Olise (Aluko 86); Semedo (Tomas Esteves 46), Ejaria (Puscas 78), Lucas Joao. Unused substitutes: Moore, Baldock, Southwood, Holmes, Tetek.

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Dijksteel, Fry, McNair, Morsy; Fisher (Mendez-Laing 78), Howson, Kebano (Saville 78), Bola; Ashley Fletcher, Watmore (Johnson 66). Unused substitutes: Hall, Assombalonga, Akpom, Archer, Spence, Coulson.

Referee: D Webb (County Durham).

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