Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley: Steve Agnew proud of his Middlesbrough players after Burnley stalemate
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 08/04/17 8:04pm
Middlesbrough caretaker manager Steve Agnew says he was proud of his side's fighting spirit in their goalless draw with Burnley.
Despite extending their winless run to 14 games, Boro looked menacing in their attacks at times, though they struck little luck in the final third for large periods of the encounter until substitute Alvaro Negredo's scissor-kick forced Tom Heaton into a smart save after 67 minutes.
Agnew was pleased with the application his players displayed at the Riverside.
He told Sky Sports: "We've done absolutely everything to score the goal and I'm so proud of the players. You could see the fighting spirit right to the very end, the crowd were behind them and it was everything we wanted. Obviously the only thing we didn't get was the goal that I thought we deserved."
"I think confidence is something that has grown into the group in recent weeks and that [result] will certainly do us the world of good."
Less than 20 minutes after Negredo's chance they were denied a potentially season-defining decision by Martin Atkinson when substitute Patrick Bamford was felled by last man Michael Keane. Atkinson ruled that Bamford was not in control of the ball and Keane escaped with a booking.
But for Agnew, it was the incorrect decision.
"They are the opportunities that - for whatever reason - didn't go in for us today. But I have to say that Patrick, when he went on, was on the last man. If he stays or he doesn't get brought down then for me it's a goalscoring opportunity and I'm sure on his right foot, he would have tucked that one away - we're a little bit disappointed with the decision as, to me, he's clean through with the ball under control."
Agnew rotated his squad with four changes to the side that lost to Hull in midweek and felt their positive effect on the pitch was a credit to the squad depth.
He continued: "We've had three games in six days so that's why we have a squad. The changes were there for everybody to see and they were positive. Alvaro did everything he could, it was a terrific left-footed scissor-kick and the keeper made a wonderful save."
"The group of players are so determined; we'll be in training, we'll regroup, we'll speak about what was good and what we need to improve on and we'll just keep going. But they're a determined group - you saw right to the 94th minute and the supporters today were terrific. There was a hell of a noise in the stadium and I'm disappointed for the supporters that we couldn't get the winning goal."