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Middlesbrough boss explains decision to drop goalkeeper and Assombalonga

In an interview which appears on The Hartlepool Mail, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock explained his decision to replace Dejan Stojanovic with Aynsley Pears in their recent victory.

Middlesbrough strengthened their survival hopes last night with a 2-1 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Having come from a goal down, Ashley Fletcher and Patrick Roberts secured the three points for the away side.

Warnock made four changes from the side that lost at home to Bristol City at the weekend. Pears replaced Stojanovic in goal, Anfernee Dijksteel, Patrick Roberts, and Marcus Tavernier came in with Ryan Shotton, Paddy McNair, and Britt Assombalonga making way.

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When asked about his decision to change the goalkeeper, Warnock explained, “He’s done well Pearsy and I just thought I’d like to see him.

“He talks very, very well. I thought tonight in this stadium it might need a big talker.

“I don’t think Dejan has done bad at all.”

Britt Assombalonga has scored in Middlesbrough’s last two games but was ultimately dropped for the visit to Reading. Warnock commented on Assombalonga’s omission and the reintroduction of Dijksteel and Tavernier.

“Britt was absolutely shattered so I had to take him out of the firing line,” said Warnock. “It was a toss-up who was going to start and Fletch took his goal really well.

Naomi Baker/Getty Images Sport

“I wanted to give Djed [Spence] a bit more of an attacking role where he could help Dijksteel. Dijksteel has done all right in training but I haven’t seen him play.

“I wanted to put Djed in front of him to help him out and I thought Djed could get some crosses in and get behind the full-back. It was the same with Tav, I thought Tav has been really sharp.”

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