Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Away-Day Win Points to Change

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Away-Day Win Points to Change

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

Southgate planning shake-up

Gareth Southgate has had to wait a full season to see his Middlesbrough team record an away-day clean sheet and take three points at the same time, writes Jack Pickering.

But this deserved victory at the JJB Stadium was greeted more with relief than delight at the end.

It was the untypical performance that Southgate had called for, a battling, sleeves rolled-up effort, which secured a Premiership future for Boro with one match left.

The Boro boss can take no satisfaction from the way in which his side has stuttered through the last two months and this latest performance ( much better than the dismal away displays which have gone before ( emphasises the fact surgery is needed in the summer.

Southgate gambled with changes for this relegation showdown, bringing in Lee Dong-Gook in place of out of sorts striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu, and playing skipper George Boateng in an unaccustomed role on the right.

South Korean international Dong-Gook, without a goal in English football, did nothing special except win the free-kick which led to Mark Viduka's winning goal. However, Boateng provided extra know-how in a midfield which stepped up considerably on recent performances.

Southgate said: "(Fabio) Rochemback and (Julio) Arca have done very well in midfield and I thought they would enjoy the opportunity to play together. The two of them are both very comfortable on the ball.

"Boateng played plenty of football on the right at Coventry so it's a position he knows well. He gave us a lot of experience in the role."

The Boro midfield was more effective than it has been lately, with Stewart Downing making penetrating runs, though Wigan had nothing more to offer than commitment.

Southgate said: "We spoke about it during the week and that we had to take charge of the game. …

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