Monday 19 March 2018

Steve Agnew focus

Steve Agnew suffered defeat in his first match in charge of Middlesbrough
Steve Agnew suffered defeat in his first match in charge of Middlesbrough

Steve Agnew took charge of Middlesbrough for the first time since Aitor Karanka's departure as Manchester United headed for Teesside.

Here, Press Association Sport takes at look at how Boro's afternoon panned out, with United ultimately running out 3-1 winners at the Riverside.


Karanka's final game at the helm, last Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Manchester City, saw him start with key men Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez on the bench and Stewart Downing not even in the 18, with the Spaniard later insisting he needed "18 fighters" in his matchday squad. All three were included in Agnew's starting line-up as Boro looked for a first Premier League win in 11 attempts.


Adam Clayton was asked to sit in front of the back four with Marten de Roon man-marking Marouane Fellaini, Downing wide on the right and Ramirez pushed into an advanced role on the opposite flank. Agnew went further on to the offensive with his side trailing 2-0 when he sent on striker Rudy Gestede and winger Adama Traore for Grant Leadbitter and Ramirez with around half-an-hour remaining.


The game kicked off with Boro having scored just three league goals since their last victory and none since January 31, but finally ended their wait after 510 minutes of football when substitute Gestede stabbed home to make it 2-1. They did create chances with Ramirez forcing a first-half save from David de Gea and Alvaro Negredo heading wastefully wide, and looked more potent with Downing back in his more accustomed left-side berth late on.


The game kicked off amid a raucous atmosphere as the locals hoped for a fresh star after Karanka's tenure had stagnated. Optimism eventually gave way to frustration as an improved performance initially failed to pay dividends, but Gestede's goal prompted a resurgence in belief within the stadium before Victor Valdes' late slip which gifted United their final goal - greeted by sympathetic applause by the home fans - ended any hope of a comeback.

Press Association

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