Neil Warnock produced an absolute masterclass as he took his Middlesbrough side to St. Andrew’s and saw them destroy Birmingham City 4-1.
Aitor Karanka welcomed his former club to the second city having lost two in a row, including a late collapse away at Cardiff City in midweek.
The Spaniard rang the changes for the encounter with no fewer than five players who didn’t start in the Welsh capital coming in for the visit of Boro.
It started well for the Blues with Maxim Colin opening the scoring, but things turned quickly as Britt Assombalonga and George Saville’s goals turned the tables before half time.
A calamitous error from Neil Etheridge made it 3-1 to the away side, and then Lewis Wing made it very safe as he added a fourth for Boro.
Ironically Warnock made two changes to his side, with both Assombalonga and Wing coming into the fold and they contributed to three of the goals for their side.
A managerial masterclass indeed from Warnock, although the fans before the game were rather critical of his decision to name both players in the starting 11, especially when they had won previously with them both on the bench.
The mood soon turned though in the second half as Boro secured the victory, with the main figure of praise for Boro fans being the goalscorer of the second – Saville.
The 27-year-old has been an ever-present under Warnock and by all accounts was sensational against Birmingham – check out the best reactions below.
George Saville of the Warnock era is an absolute machine #Boro
— Luke Baker (@Baker_Luke) December 19, 2020
Really never thought I’d ever think this… but my God I bloody love George Saville
— Callum Atterton (@CallumAtterton9) December 19, 2020
The george saville show
— Jonny Gray (@JonnyGray20) December 19, 2020
and George Saville, that’s some performance from him there. He’s been class all season.
— Jamie Gilbey (@Poddddddd) December 19, 2020
— Chris Cassidy (@CCass6) December 19, 2020
George Saville appreciation tweet #boro
— 🎅 🇬🇧WinOrLoseUTB🏴🎅 (@URMYBORO17) December 19, 2020
Saville absolutely terrific today. Really good.
— John Wilberforce (@JohnWilberforc1) December 19, 2020
George Saville has stepped up with the absence of Howson. Absolute masterclass of a performance today. Everyone else was absolutely quality as well, a real team performance. #UTB
— Shaun (@boroweasel) December 19, 2020
@BBCTeesSport spot on maddo picking Saville for MOTM. Absolutely essential to our team now. Who wouldve said that last year.
— Boros Attacking Exploits (@BoroShot) December 19, 2020