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Neil Warnock elated after marking managerial milestone with victory

Reading v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Madejski Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock was delighted to be able to celebrate his 1,500th game as a manager with a win.

Warnock reached the milestone 33 years after his first game as a Football League manager ended with his Scarborough side drawing 2-2 with Wolves.

Match number 1,500 saw Middlesbrough beat Barnsley 2-1 thanks to goals from Jonny Howson and Chuba Akpom, and ensured Warnock made a successful return to the dug-out after completing his recovery from a bout of Covid-19.

Warnock said: “I do feel it’s quite a good achievement to get to 1,500 games, especially in the modern day.

“I enjoyed today. I thought the lads played some good stuff. I thought we could have scored some more goals, but we’ve done ever so well this season. When you look at the quality we’ve played against in the first four games, we’ve hardly conceded any chances at all.

“It’s great to get that three points off your back at home. Apparently we hadn’t won here (in the league) since Boxing Day – I think I was fishing then!

“It still feels as enjoyable as ever to win, although the thing with 1,500 games is that when you get to my age, you don’t really remember anything other than last week.

“I feel really elated and I’ll sleep well tonight. It’s a great game. We haven’t got to forget about this horrible disease, but the game of football is so important. Hopefully, we’ll have given the fans something to smile about with this game.”

Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber has been linked with a possible move to MLS side New York Red Bulls, and while he was unwilling to discuss his future in the wake of his side’s latest defeat, he accepts his players’ attacking failings are holding them back.

Cauley Woodrow’s 89th-minute penalty ended Barnsley’s wait for a first league goal of the season, but Struber remains worried at his side’s lack of attacking threat.

Struber said: “I thought we had a lot of control in the game, but in the last third, we missed the ruthlessness that you need to score goals. That’s the big difference between us and other teams that take their chances.

“In the last third, we need to have that instinct that you need to score goals. It’s a big issue for us at the moment. We have been playing well, but without any benefit at the end.

“It’s very difficult to score goals without attacking midfielders or strikers with big quality. When you see the attacking quality that Middlesbrough have in their squad, it is a big difference.

“Will we be able to bring in that kind of quality before the end of the transfer window? That is a question you will have to ask the owners.”