Paul Cook has welcomed Jonathan Woodgate to the ‘crazy world of football management’.
But the Wigan Athletic boss will be doing everything he can to pile the pressure on Middlesbrough’s rookie manager tonight!
Woodgate, the former England centre-back, took over his hometown club over the summer, replacing Tony Pulis in the hotseat.
And the honeymoon period is officially over, with Boro picking up only one point from their opening three league games, and crashing out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of League Two outfit Crewe.
There’s already been one managerial casualty in the Championship, with Huddersfield parting company with Jan Siewart after Friday’s home defeat to Fulham.
And Cook has reiterated his often-voiced opinion that the pressure on managers in the modern game is out of control.
“Jonathan’s had three games...three games!” said the Latics manager.
“Jonathan...welcome to the crazy world of football management, my friend!
“To say the least, I don’t think it’s good how the media start putting things to managers after two and three games.
“How are we going to create good managers for the future when we are asking questions of them so quickly.
“Look at Frank Lampard...he’s had two games at Chelsea and already some people want to criticise.
“And that’s where the game is going right now.
“We’ve already seen one manager lose his job over the weekend.
“And the thing is, I wasn’t even surprised, because of how it is these days.”
Cook feels Woodgate is worthy of added patience, given the change in style of play he is trying to implement overnight.
“Jonathan is a young manager, who has been so refreshing with his outlook and his team selection,” explained the Latics boss
“He’s obviously trying to change the identity of the club at the same time – and that’s not going to happen overnight.
“He’s not going to sprinkle some magic dust on to the team and everything’s suddenly going to be perfect.
“It doesn’t work like that, sadly!
“Whether people like it or not, Middlesbrough are going through a period of transition at the moment,.
“With Tony Pulis going and Jonathan Woodgate coming in...the buzzword is ‘philosophy’ and style of play.
“The job spec Tony had and the job spec Jonathan has are probably not the same.
“Jonathan’s not working with the same tools Tony did, and if that means Jonathan’s subject to the same pressure...that’s grossly unfair.
“But that’s for Middlesbrough. I have plenty of pressure on myself here!”
Latics are desperate for a win themselves, with three defeats in the space of a week eradicating much of the positivity generated by the opening-day victory over Cardiff.
But Cook says Middlesbrough will be a tough nut to crack on their own pitch – despite their poor start.
“I watched Middlesbrough at Salford in pre-season, and I thought they were excellent,” he said.
“They were absolutely superb on the night, full of attacking intent, and were a real handful.
“I’m sure Jonathan will be looking at this game as one they can win.
“Our away form over the last 12 months is there for everyone to see.
“It’s very unfair to label anything that happened last year on this group, because there’s a lot of new players here now.
“But we have to sort out that record – and fingers crossed it starts on Tuesday.”