Chris Wilder’s side drew 2-2 at Stoke (Martin Rickett/PA)
17 August 2022

Chris Wilder could not believe Middlesbrough failed to beat Stoke

17 August 2022

Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder was left bewildered by his side’s 2-2 draw with Stoke after City substitute D’Margio Wright-Phillips spared the blushes of veteran team-mate Phil Jagielka.

Wright-Phillips, 20 years the junior of 40-year-old Jagielka, headed a stoppage-time equaliser after Boro came from behind thanks to Duncan Watmore and Jagielka’s generosity.

Watmore cancelled out Jacob Brown’s 19th-minute opener, stealing in front of the ex-England defender to make it 1-1.

Under pressure from the same player Jagielka put through his own net after 63 minutes before Wright-Phillips, son of former Manchester City and Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, popped up with a perfect present.

“We all back our teams and sometimes look through rose-tinted glasses,” said Wilder.

“I am a balanced guy in terms of stats and how I see things. But I never felt one bit of pressure all night.

“You expect it in the Championship, you expect it when you come away to a big club in the Championship like Stoke City are.

“But even the most ardent and passionate Stoke supporter, when they put their head on the pillow, will wonder how their side hasn’t got beaten and beaten comfortably.

“We can look at ourselves and say we haven’t put them to bed. But I have been in the Championship a few years and don’t think I have ever come away having dominated with any team to the extent we dominated.

“I believe the way we were playing we had the ability to take it from two to three from three to four. That would then end up a comfortable night and reflect the flow of the game.”

Jagielka had a tough evening against Watmore and Stoke manager Michael O’Neill said: “He was a bit unlucky. I think the ball hit his trailing leg.

“But I thought he did very well. It is not easy playing against Duncan Watmore who is running in behind.

“Jags is defying father time and he showed he is still a quality player.

“His appetite for the game is that of a 21-year-old; even how he trains. Normally when you get a player of that age, he may train one or two days a week.

“But he wants to train every day, so you must put the reins on him. The reason he is still playing is because he has a love and enthusiasm for the game.”

On the draw, O’Neill added: “We got a point and that was important. But it is a bit early to be relieved after four games of the season.

“We were stretched with the team we had to field. But I thought the players were terrific because they gave everything.

“We showed great character to make sure we took something from the game.”

Wright-Phillips came off the bench in the 78th minute and nodded home at the death.

O’Neill added: “You would have got good odds scoring a header. But he did well, he read the flight of the ball well and got in between two defenders.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox