Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock on a 'diabolical' playing surface at Sheffield Wednesday

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Neil Warnock admits that a 'diabolical' playing surface at Hillsborough did his side few favours as their top-six push took a jolt after a 2-1 loss at relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday.

Neil Warnock.

Boro found themselves trailing 2-0 at the break after some uncharacteristic errors in the heart of their backline and despite reducing the arrears early in the second half through Duncan Watmore's strike and applying pressure, with Marcus Tavenier and Marvin Johnson going close, they ended the game with nothing.

Warnock said: The two goals decided the game, really. I did think that if we got one early in the second half, we might go on and win it, if I am honest.

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"With the opportunities we have, if Tav’s (Marcus Tavernier’s) had gone in, you would have seen their heads drop and we’d have gone on won it then. It was not to be and I am disappointed.

"The pitch was diabolical and everyone was knocking it long and you could not get much pattern into it. I cannot blame the players altogether for that. You have got to adapt to the conditions and with their goalkeeper, there was nothing short at all. You have to get used to that."

On two sloppy concessions in the first period, the former Sheffield United chief, returning to his home city, added: “It is not very often that they make mistakes like that. I won’t name names, but at half-time, you don’t have to tell them, really. They know they have made a mistake.

“I think that is the first one this season that the centre-backs have made a mistake (in)."

The game saw a flashpoint at the interval when Owls captain Barry Bannan and Boro midfielder Sam Morsy clashed, with a few heated words taking place and Warnock picking up a booking after remonstrating with the officials on the pitch.

Warnock observed: "That’s football and a bit of passion. I don’t think there was much in it at all.

"There were one or two accusations and one or two (Middlesbrough) lads were disappointed that there was not a yellow card occasionally for their tackles when as soon as our lads made a tackle, it was a yellow card.

"But I said that you have just got to get on with it. We had the referee at Hull last year (season) and at least we know he is consistent."