Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has stated that the reason Paddy McNair played centre-back in their 4-0 defeat at Leeds on Saturday is because he wasn’t fit enough to play in midfield.
He was a doubt for the game but ended up starting in a back three for Woodgate’s side. The switch didn’t help Boro and they ended up losing the game by four goals at Elland Road as Leeds ran out victorious.
This result piles the pressure back on Woodgate who thought he may have been reprieved following a midweek victory over Barnsley. However, the manner of this defeat won’t have gone down well with the people running the club or the supporters.
Woodgate has revealed that McNair couldn’t have played in central midfield, but admits that injuries aren’t an excuse for the defeat.
Speaking to the Hartlepool Mail, Woodgate said: “Paddy couldn’t have played centre midfield for 90 minutes, he would have maybe lasted 60 minutes that’s why he had to play centre-back and Jonny (Howson) played right-back.
“With the suspensions and injuries that we have that’s how it is but no excuses we got beat by a better, better team.”
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If he’s not fit enough to play in central-midfield then maybe it would have been a good idea to have kept McNair on the bench until the last half an hour of the game.
You need players to be 100% in this league, and even if you’re carrying a knock it can really affect your play. It does sound like Woodgate is beginning to look for excuses, and his job may be on the line in the future.
Middlesbrough need to improve and very soon otherwise they may find themselves in a serious relegation battle which would not please their fans. Expectations are higher than this, and Woodgate needs to show that the squad is better.