MIDDLESBROUGH’S Britt Assombalonga has thrown his weight behind the push to stop racial trolling of footballers after a week when Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was abused online after missing a penalty.

Pogba’s second half spot-kick that was saved during the 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday led to him becoming the third player to be racially abused on social media following a penalty miss.

The 26-year-old has since received support from across the game, with many urging social media companies to do more to stop the trolling having also seen Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Reading’s Yakou Meite also targeted with unnecessary posts after missing recent spot-kicks.

Assombalonga was pleased to overcome his own recent penalty misses for Middlesbrough – which didn’t lead to him being racially abused - by turning match-winner on Tuesday night by heading in the winning goal against Wigan Athletic.

The DR Congo international said: “All the stuff that goes on after (missing penalties) and the racism, I don’t understand that. At the end of the day, it’s football. Some days you miss, you have your lows and you have your highs.”

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has consistently praised his striker for the way he has operated since taking over from Tony Pulis, who never warmed to what Assombalonga had to offer.

The former Nottingham Forest striker was overjoyed to have found the net against Wigan, having had a difficult start to the season because of his two penalty misses.

The first of those was on the opening night at Luton Town when, after scoring for Middlesbrough, he blasted a penalty over the bar when his team led 3-2 and ended up drawing. Eleven days later he missed one of the penalties in the shoot-out with Crewe in the Carabao Cup defeat.

Woodgate has maintained that Assombalonga will still be his penalty taker provided he is confident enough to take them.

Woodgate has always believed Assombalonga will end up finding the net again.

Assombalonga said: “You have to have balls to get up and take a penalty. Not a lot of people like to take penalties, you know. Fair play to Pogba for stepping up and taking that penalty (on Monday night). Sometimes you're a villain and sometimes you're a hero.

“Why wouldn’t I take another one? Why not? You're a striker, you want to score goals. We normally do more finishing sessions going into the box, that's the main focus of what's happening on the pitch. Sometimes we do a bit after.”

Woodgate is working hard on rebuilding Assombalonga’s confidence after a difficult year under Pulis, even though the £15m man was the top scorer for the second year in a row.  The Middlesbrough front-man said: “Everything is good. Training is fantastic, it's very sharp. Everyone respects the gaffer a lot and everyone is enjoying every minute on the training pitch.

“He's always brought a good vibe around the place, regardless of being part of the coaching staff and now being the manager. He's always brought that bubbly vibe. It's rubbing off on all the boys, we're just slowly trying to click.

“He's good at that (man-management). He always encourages. Not just me. He makes sure he makes everyone feel happy and feel good. Everyone respects that.

“We needed that win.  Everyone is buzzing now. We needed that goal to come at that time. It was perfect. Going in at half-time 1-0 up was good for us.

“We started playing a bit better after the goal and had more confidence on the ball. Defensively we were good. Everyone knew their jobs and worked hard for each other.”

Assombalonga has struck up a decent understanding with Ashley Fletcher already this season, carrying on from the back end of last season when Pulis started to play them together.

Both have found the net a couple of times already and Assombalonga said: “I enjoy playing with Fletch. He's so good on the ball, his movement and playing one-twos. It's nice to play with him this season. Long may it continue. We're good mates off the pitch and that helps.

“It's good, you push each other. You speak off the pitch. On the pitch we just have that understanding. I put my head up looking for him, he does the same with me. It's just instinctive. It just comes natural. We try to be close and play together, that's what the manager wants.”

Middlesbrough are looking to build on the victory over Wigan by following that up with a win over Millwall on Saturday at the Riverside.

Woodgate was satisfied with the outcome in midweek despite not being particularly impressed with the performance and now he would like to see greater improvements in the display - as well as picking up more points.

It would be of little surprise to see him make more changes to his starting line-up for the Millwall game, although George Friend remains sidelined through injury. It is unclear how long he will be missing at this stage, although he has suffered a reaction to the thigh he had trouble with in the summer.

Young defender Dael Fry is edging closer to a return to the first stage team and he will be challenging Ryan Shotton for a starting spot alongside Daniel Ayala. Jonny Howson already looks the preferred option at right-back following his impressive display against Wigan, which included a delivery for Assombalonga's winner.

Middlesbrough are also hoping that young left-back Hayden Coulson can make a swift recovery from his hamstring trouble to compete with Marc Bola down that side of the pitch. Boro didn't look strong enough down that side on Tuesday.