15 January 2022

Chris Wilder: Middlesbrough gambled and it paid off

15 January 2022

Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder said his side “took gambles” and “found a bit of quality” to come from behind and beat Reading 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium.

Two late goals from midfielder Matt Crooks saw Boro bounce back after Andy Carroll had put the Royals ahead in the 67th minute.

Victory saw the hosts move into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places after making it four wins from five games.

“Everybody loves a last-minute winner don’t they?” Wilder said. “The Riverside was bouncing, especially when we got ourselves back onto level terms, there was no sitting back from that point and it was all in.

“Stick the lot, red and black, stick it on and we did. We found a bit of quality, although we weren’t a lucky team today.

“I thought our quality at times wasn’t as good as it has been, 62 per cent possession, against a team that’s got quality as well.

“(Matt Crooks) He’s scored goals all his career, so it was a gamble that we had to take to get something from the game.

“But what we’re trying to instil into the players is if we’re going to go out, let’s go out fighting and have a go.

“We took gambles, which we had to, to get back into the game.

“We found a couple of great bits of quality that we haven’t found for the majority of the game in terms of Tav’s (Marcus Tavernier) cross and Issy’s cross (Isaiah Jones).

“We had enough first half to go in at half-time up in the game, we just couldn’t find that first goal or that bit of quality.

“The start of the second half from our point of view wasn’t great, but in the end through perseverance, through belief, we kept doing the things we did.”

It was back-to-back losses for Reading following their 7-0 drubbing to Fulham in midweek, and manager Veljko Paunovic admitted his side need to manage the final stages of a game better.

“Football today is cruel to us, a severe punishment in the end,” he said.

“I think our team after Fulham’s game a couple of days ago, reestablished spirit and identity very well. That’s what we showed today in the 85 minutes.

“At the end we conceded two goals, late goals, and showed the only aspect of the game that we still can’t control very well.

“It’s unlucky. It was really cruel today but I’m proud of the effort and I believe in these guys.

“On Wednesday we’re going to come back, fight back and fight stronger.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox