JONATHAN WOODGATE was encouraged by aspects of his first game in charge of Middlesbrough despite watching his team lose its first pre-season friendly of the summer.

Woodgate will keep stressing the same messages as he has been throughout the last two week to his players in his bid to get Boro playing more attractively before the start of the campaign.

He knows what he wants and intends to make sure his players implement what he wants in order to give the Championship a good run when the new season begins in August.

The newly appointed Middlesbrough head coach was speaking after watching Grazer AK win 2-0 in Austria on Friday evening when he effectively fielded two different teams in the two halves of the match.

“We’ve been working now ten days, seven with the football,” said Woodgate, whose side will travel back from Austria on Saturday morning after the week-long training camp.

“The lads have worked really hard all week, and (Grazer) are fresh coming into it off the back end of their season.

“I’ve got no complaints. We’re playing the way we want to play, and that won’t be changing. We’re sticking to our plan, and the more we practise the better we’ll be - and the players realise that. You get your minutes in your legs and you work as hard as you can.

“We’ve got another five friendlies before the season starts and as we get fitter we’ll be better on the ball.”

Middlesbrough were without internationals Martin Braithwaite, Darren Randolph, George Saville and Paddy McNair against the Austrians because both were given some extra recovery time.

And there was encouraging news for defender Daniel Ayala after he was removed as a precaution midway through the first half.

“I think he was just a bit tight,” Woodgate told the club website. “He’s trained hard, and he hasn’t missed a session.”

Alexander Rother’s opening goal in the first half was followed by Filip Smoljan’s second with 17 minutes remaining against a Middlesbrough team which fielded numerous youngsters among the 21 players who saw some action.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, are continuing to investigate a number of transfers that were completed during Garry Monk’s time in charge at the Riverside Stadium.

A report in the Daily Mail on Friday revealed how the Championship club have accused Monk and his agent, James Featherstone, of deceiving them in the transfer market in an explosive letter sent to the pair.