Middlesbrough boss happy to keep Wigan Athletic at arm's length
Jonathan Woodgate emphasised the importance of Middlesbrough retaining their seven-point buffer over third-bottom Wigan Athletic after the 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.
Boro fought back from going behind to a Sam Morsy effort on the half-hour mark to lead 2-1 heading into the last 20 minutes thanks to a brace from Lewis Wing.
But Wigan, despite being reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of Chey Dunkley, levelled with 14 minutes to go when Harold Moukoudi headed Nathan Byrne's cross into his own net.
While disappointed his side couldn't see it through, Woodgate was keen to accentuate the positives.
"I said before the game, we wanted to win, but it was important we didn't get beat," he said.
"The gap stays the same, it doesn't decrease.
"But it is difficult to take, with the own goal.
"I thought it was a typical Championship game, end to end.
"But when Wigan took the lead, I thought they sat back and we started dominating the game.
"We go 2-1 up, we look to be in the ascendancy, they're down to 10 men, and then we give away a freak own goal.
"I can't knock my players, I thought there were times in the game when we looked quite slick.
"We need to keep that slickness, but also be difficult to beat when we go in front, especially against 10 men."
Woodgate was also unhappy with referee Oliver Langford's decision to disallow Ashley Fletcher's early goal for offside.
"I don't want to talk about the officials, I don't want to get fined," he said.
"But it's a yard onside...a yard onside.
"I'm not going to talk about it...but we should be 1-0 up.
"And then it's difficult for Wigan to come back.
"Honestly, I want to remain professional, and not say things I'll probably regret."