NEIL WARNOCK was delighted with the adaptability displayed by his Middlesbrough side as they ground out a 2-0 win over Peterborough.

With five senior defenders missing because of injury or suspension, Warnock was forced to make a host of personnel and positional changes.

Jonny Howson and Paddy McNair played as emergency centre-halves, Marcus Tavernier and Onel Hernandez lined up at wing-back, and Matt Crooks had to fill in as a holding midfielder protecting the back five.

All five produced effective displays, ensuring late goals from McNair and substitute Josh Coburn were sufficient to secure all three points.

Warnock said: “I couldn’t have faulted them, every one of them. They’ve been the same in training. They all know they’re playing out of position, a lot of them, but we’ve nothing else.

“I just asked them to try to enjoy the challenge and the battle, and if they made mistakes, not to dwell on them. In the first half, we just had an extra touch and tried an extra pass, where we should have just relaxed a bit, but I thought we created some great chances in the second half.

“There were some great crosses across the box, and I thought there were some really good performances. Sol Bamba was outstanding today, and I thought Duncan Watmore was too. He got cramp, and it didn’t surprise me.”

Warnock only settled on his starting line-up yesterday, with Marc Bola’s late injury withdrawal meaning the Boro boss was not really able to prepare with his starting XI.

He said: “We haven’t been able to work on anything. Bola didn’t pull out until yesterday, so we’ve not worked on anything in the two weeks regarding Peterborough because we haven’t been able to.

“Paddy didn’t come back until yesterday, and James was the same. I’ve never known anything like it really. It was Thursday night, and I didn’t have a clue what my team was going to be.”

Boro return to action when they host Barnsley on Wednesday night, and while Lee Peltier will be able to return from suspension, Warnock is not expecting to have any of his injury victims available.

He said: “I wouldn’t have thought we’ll have any of the injured lads back. Peltier will be back from suspension, but I pulled Paddy and Jonny yesterday and said, ‘You’re my Beckenbauers tomorrow lads’. I presume they know who Beckenbauer is at their age!”