Southgate praise for strikers
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate hailed Mark Viduka and Yakubu Aiyegbeni after Boro's win.
Gareth Southgate praised his strike partnership of Mark Viduka and Yakubu Aiyegbeni after both players scored in Middlesbrough's 2-1 win over Reading.
The two stars have struck up a productive understanding at The Riverside and their clinical finishing secured a good win over an in-form Reading side.
Indeed, Southgate felt the rest of his side should have provided better service to the pair as they caused the visitors' defence problems throughout.
"Yes they are [really clicking], I think they are enjoying playing together," Southgate told Sky Sports. "They are feeding off of each other and are a handful for other teams.
"I think we could have got the ball in to them a lot more today. I thought we played backwards and square a bit too much at times and invited Reading to put us under pressure but we are still learning how to win matches and it was an important win for us.
"We made life difficult for ourselves that is for sure. At 2-0 you hope to see the game out but you have to give Reading a lot of credit.
"That symbolises what they are about, they never stop and they were probably worthy of a goal on the day. They didn't do enough to win the game, but they pushed us all the way."
Viduka's first-half backheel was the result of a well worked set-piece from Stewart Downing, and Southgate magnanimously conferred the credit for the goal on his backroom staff.
"My assistant Malcolm Crosby has got to take the credit for that, he has dug that out of his old football manual from about 1965 and it paid off for us," Southgate added.
"It is good when those things happen, and the second goal was an incredible strike from Yak."
Boro are now one point shy of Newcastle and Tottenham - who occupy ninth and tenth place in the Premiership - and Southgate has called on his side to ensure they finish as high up the league as possible.
"Reading have gone 11 games unbeaten or something so it is a real feather in our cap, and we have got to keep that going now.
"We have got ten league games left and we want to aim as high as possible."