NEIL WARNOCK concedes there is still no room for error if Middlesbrough are to claw back the eight-point gap that currently separates them from the play-off zone.

Boro are back in action at the Riverside on Tuesday night when Preston arrive on Teesside and another three points is vital.

In fact, after beating Stoke City 3-0 on home soil yesterday, Warnock does not think Middlesbrough can afford to let points slip again if they are to reclaim sixth place in the final ten matches.

Barnsley, who beat Jonathan Woodgate’s Bournemouth at the weekend, are on the charge and looking the likeliest to finish in sixth, and Warnock has urged his players just to keep going and see what happens.

He said: “We’ve just got to go and win every game now and we are quite capable of winning every one - but we are also quite capable of losing with our inconsistencies.

“But I thought there were some massive plusses against Stoke. We looked strong once we changed and it was nice to see the goals.

“We had to win. I said to the players we have to get wins on the board.

"I thought once we sorted the first ten minutes out, as we were getting battered, we were really on our game.”

Before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing wrapped the victory up with his first goal for Middlesbrough since signing as a free agent in January with two minutes left, Paddy McNair and Grant Hall had already put Warnock’s side on course for victory.

Hall’s opener arrived in the 21st minute against the run of play and McNair’s cool finish came after he was switched to midfield from defence.

Warnock was delighted to see a couple of his more defensive players find the net, and he has challenged Dael Fry to cap a fine first full season under him by scoring in the run-in – with his head.

The Middlesbrough boss, who hopes defender Djed Spence will be fit to face Preston after picking up a knock in the Stoke game, said: “Before the end of the season I told Dael ‘What I would give for a headed goal from you. Any chance?’

“We are trying. I'm sure there will be a special celebration if he scores with his head. I thought he was magnificent at the back again. And Grant was great too.”