Preston manager reveals tactical surprise in defeat to Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough continued their impressive form, winning 2-0 away at Preston.
Boro manager, Jonathan Woodgate, suprised many by naming Rudy Gestede in the starting lineup and the big striker was able to help the team as the focal point of the attack. Gestede is well known for his aerial prowess and Preston could not cope with the forward as Boro kept playing long balls into the danger area leading to panic in the box.
Alex Neil admitted after the game that his team were caught out with the tactical switch and failed to react to the big target man threat in the air. "I think Gestede caused us problems. Every cross into the box, he was a threat. He must have won three or four clean headers, and Declan had to make a really good save from him. The second goal comes from a flick on with him beating our centre-back."
Woodgate got his tactics spot on by negating Preston press, by sitting deep and launching long balls to the front two of Gestede and Ashley Fletcher. This meant that Preston could not have long spells of sustained pressure and relieved the back three of being dragged out of position by the front three of Preston.
Woodgate appears to have found a balance with the squad despite the myriad of injury problems, which increased on Wednesday with club captain Daniel Ayala suffering a suspected ankle injury.
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Middlesbrough have gone on a winning run of four games and sit just seven points off the final playoff position.