JONATHAN WOODGATE has warned his Middlesbrough strugglers that they will stay towards the wrong end of the Championship table if they don’t start to “do things right” when he sends them out to play.

A 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City last night, their fifth from the first 11 games, has left Boro sitting 20th in the Championship and those below them have a chance to close the gap over the weekend.

It was a performance for just under an hour that smacked of a team in trouble at St Andrew’s and, even though Middlesbrough almost nicked a point in the end, Woodgate was left wondering what is at the root of the problems.

“You can imagine exactly what I said to them,” he said. “Not happy, not happy at full-time, not happy at all.

“I can do that to my players, they need to be told. I thought we were deep, there were too many spaces between the midfield and defence. They were better than us.

“It's just disappointing. The players need to roll their sleeves up and look at themselves in the mirror.

“I'll be the first to look at myself in the mirror and dress myself down, the players need to have a good hard look at themselves. To perform like that, especially in the first half, was not good.

“Frustrating, I wish I could put my boots on and play and a head few balls out, or tell my full-backs to stop crosses.”

Birmingham took the lead in the 33rd minute when Fran Villalba finally beat Darren Randolph after a number of good saves. The biggest surprise was that Boro were only a goal down at the break.

The introduction of Lewis Wing and Ashley Fletcher did inject some life into Middlesbrough briefly, but it was still a surprise when Daniel Ayala looked to nicked a point with three minutes remaining.

But then Birmingham went down the other end and hit a winner when Odin Bailey was left in space at the back post to convert the winner in the final minute to sink Boro. Woodgate was in no mood for excuses.

“Don't ask me how we get back in the game, but we do somehow,” he said. “That's the most disappointing thing, we get back in the game and try to do a job on them and concede back post.

“Like I said in meetings, you have to watch the back post when crosses come in. Back post, goal, really frustrating.

“You work on the training pitch and you have to mark in the box, it's as simple as that. You have to stop crosses. We work on it but we need to do more work on it, obviously.

“That's what football is like, there will be times. We need to pick them up but they also need to pick themselves up. They need to be strong characters because there are strong characters.

“They look like that out there, I see them in training they're popping the ball about left right and centre, they come on the pitch and just freeze. We’ve got good players, I said that before the game, but after that it wasn't good enough."

He added: “Is it a lack of confidence? I believe they are good enough. Are they good enough? I believe they are. I will keep going with them. It is what I have got, I will keep on going.

“I haven’t said they aren’t good enough … I will remain positive. They need telling if we don’t do things right, they will end up at the bottom of the table and stay there. They need to find it from somewhere, personalities on the pitch, they have to dig it out.

“I am angry, disappointed, gutted everything you can think of. I am the manager, you have to go again, pick them up. I’m really frustrated,

“If we keep going as we are it will be (the season stay like this). We have to change it round, ten points after 11 games is not great. I am first to admit that.’’

And he added: “Look at Preston last year, they had five points after ten, you come together as a group and move forward together as a group.

“We need to look at ourselves in the mirror, the players need to. Have they lost a lot of confidence? We will have to see.

“I was under pressure from day one. I put pressure on myself. There was always a look towards me of why I was getting the job in the first place, no problem people are entitled to their opinion. I will keep going.”