Neil Warnock has reasons to be positive at Middlesbrough

Brentford goalkeeper David Raya Martin and Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga. Picture: PA.Brentford goalkeeper David Raya Martin and Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga. Picture: PA.
Brentford goalkeeper David Raya Martin and Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga. Picture: PA.
Neil Warnock was left frustrated at the way his side collapsed in a defensive sense, knowing it was an opportunity for Middlesbrough to climb into the play-off zone.

But the Boro chief found plenty of positives despite his side loing a fourth successive home game.

Warnock said: “I don’t think I have been as satisfied with a 4-1 defeat as that, I look at where we are now and where we were... I would give them a rollicking if needed.

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“We are on the wrong end of a defeat, but I think the fans will be excited now. We go to Derby and this could be the season starting now. That is the start of 18 cup finals.

“Saville could have had a hat-trick, Britt Assombalonga could have had two, the keeper was probably man of the match with the saves he made. We haven’t made as many chances as that that for a long time.”

Counterpart Thomas Frank paid tribute to goalkeeper David Raya for recovering from an early error to help the Bees extend an unbeaten run to 20 Championship matches to climb to within a point of leaders Norwich.

Raya made amends with a string of saves following a third-minute error, when he missed a cross and ended up scoring an own goal to gift Boro the lead.

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A brace from the league’s top scorer, Ivan Toney, alongside goals from Vitaly Janelt and Mathias Jensen, secured an impressive away win.

Frank said: “It says a lot about the keeper to respond like he did. We needed a top goalkeeper and our goalkeeper is one of the best in the division, possibly the best.”

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Fisher, Dijksteel, McNair, Bola, Howson; Morsy, Kebano (Spence 69), Saville, Bolasie (Watmore 81); Assombalonga (Akpom 69). Unused substitutes: Johnson, Hall, Ashley Fletcher, Archer, Mendez-Laing, Coulson.

Brentford: Raya, Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sorensen, Henry, Jensen, Janelt; Ghoddos (Reid 83), Fosu (Zamburek 72), Toney (Forss 83); Canos (Mbeumo 67). Unused substitutes: Da Silva, Daniels, Roerslev, Stevens, Gilbert.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

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