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Neil Warnock pleased with patient win over Coventry

Middlesbrough v Coventry City – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Neil Warnock thinks Middlesbrough are getting things right after watching a patient display earn three points against Coventry.

Despite playing 81 minutes without scoring and controlling much of the play, Boro kept plugging away and got the rewards with a 2-0 victory that lifted them up to seventh in the Championship.

Britt Assombalonga’s first of the season arrived when he finished off Sam Morsy’s through pass and deep in stoppage time Djed Spence rounded goalkeeper Marko Marosi to finish the job.

It was a relief for Warnock given he has a shortage of strikers and continues to explore the free agent market in the hope of landing some help.

And he has revealed Chuba Akpom will undergo a precautionary test for coronavirus after withdrawing from the squad through illness earlier in the day.

Warnock said: “That’s Britt when he is confident and the earlier (missed) header is Britt when he’s not confident. I am looking away thinking ‘oh my goodness’. Strikers thrive on goals and I am pleased with that.”

Warnock missed several matches earlier in the season after himself testing positive for Covid-19 and he said: “We don’t know about Akpom. He just didn’t feel very well. With this virus around, we couldn’t take a risk.

“We will do a test for him and make sure it’s not the virus. Cross our fingers. That’s all we can do.

“But I was pleased with a lot tonight. I knew it would be hard, the result on Saturday for Coventry (a 4-0 loss to Blackburn) with the sending-off, you knew they would come and defend in numbers.

“We had most of the chances. You just have to be patient, games you have to win by hook or by crook. We missed a few more chances second half but we deserved it.

“The hardest games are the ones you don’t expect. The Cardiffs, Bristol Citys, take care of themselves. I was really pleased with the attitude, application. I was pleased with everything.”

While Middlesbrough look up, Coventry know they have work to do after going six matches without a win in their first season back in the Championship.

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins, knowing his side have lost four of their last five, said: “We are finding it difficult at the moment, we need to do the basics better, winning tackles, headers. Earn the right to play football and then follow that up.

“We have a way to go but from our perspective we have not played football for six months, so that has been a setback for us. The others are at mid-season now – we are trying to play catch-up, get to a level.

“We are already one of the smallest budgets as well. I am not looking for excuses but reasons are there to look at. We are a bit behind the curve.

“We have to get over these results but not wait and look round with regret in another five, 10 or 15 games. We look a side that has got promoted and are a bit fearful.

“These are good players, we will get better. We are still playing catch-up and can’t afford to lose heart, confidence, but you can see it is not flowing through the team. You need to find your steel and mount a decent comeback get to a decent level.

“It would be a real shame not to have a real go. We have got injuries and suspensions, players coming back in who will take time, but we will be a good side. At some point we will start to believe but they can’t lose that focus.”