Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has called out Boro’s strikers for their performances throughout the campaign following their final day defeat at home to Wycombe Wanderers.
Boro’s season, in the end, petered out somewhat in the final few months of the campaign, with Warnock’s side having ended the season in tenth position in the table – 13 points adrift of sixth-placed AFC Bournemouth. A lot of their issues have been down to not having a reliable goalscorer up front and they have scored just 55 league goals, which is fewer than all the sides above them.
Both Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher have not been involved in the final games of the campaign, with the pair set to leave the Riverside and find a new club. Those two players have not been able to make the difference for them in the final third, with the pair scoring just nine goals between them. While Chuba Akpom has weighed in with five goals.
Speaking to the media after their 3-0 loss to Wycombe on the final day, Warnock took aim at his forward players and suggested that they have not done enough for them and been there to score they needed throughout the campaign.
He said: “I don’t think I’m being disrespectful to the lads who have been here but we’ve finished tenth without a striker this season really.
“It’s very difficult in any league to finish without a striker because I think Britt and Ash and everybody will be disappointed with the outcome. I’m on about ten goals a season minimum and there’s only Duncan who has come up tops.”
Warnock on strikers: "I don’t think I’m being disrespectful to the lads who have been here but we’ve finished tenth without a striker this season really." #Boro
— Joe Nicholson (@joe_nicholson96) May 8, 2021
Warnock is clearly frustrated with the way that Middlesbrough’s season has fallen away in the final few months. Assombalonga and Fletcher’s futures have been hanging over the club for a while now and that has not been helping the pair with their form on the field or the rest of the side during what was a crucial period for them.
You have to potentially agree that Middlesbrough might have been a lot higher up the table and nearer to the top-six places had they had one of their two main strikers in their best form in front of goal. As it stands though, Boro will now need to look into the transfer market and bring in players that they can rely upon to score their goals next season.
It is a huge summer transfer window for them and for Warnock. If they get it right, then you would not bet against them going up next term. However, there will be questions over whether they will get it right with the singing of Akpom having not really worked out for them this season.