Tony Mowbray backs Middlesbrough squad rotation
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray says squad rotation is essential to cope with the Championship fixture schedule.
Mowbray made five changes to the line-up for Friday's 3-1 victory against Sheffield Wednesday, Boro's seventh match in 21 days.
"You can't ask the same group of players to keep going back to the well," Mowbray told BBC Tees.
"If we'd played the same team and sat here with a defeat, I'd have wondered why I didn't freshen up the side."
Goals from Justin Hoyte, Ishmael Miller and Lukas Jutkiewicz earned Boro a seventh win in nine games unbeaten, although there was a hint of drama about Miller's finish.
Scott McDonald thought he had scored as his shot rolled towards goal, before the Nottingham Forest loanee added the final touch.
"He's a bit frustrated, I had a chat with him there," said Mowbray.
“Once we were going in the right direction we got in full flow”
"If the ball's not in the net and you think it's going to hit the post then you have to make sure.
"While he might be frustrated not to get on the scoresheet he's played fantastically well, we're delighted with his contribution to the team."
Manager Mowbray praised Boro's resolve after Wednesday had pegged his side back to 1-1 in front of a season-best crowd of 28,229.
"Wednesday had 10 minutes after the equaliser where they sniffed blood and did push on a bit and ask a few questions.
"It was reasonably direct, Gary Madine played well and Antonio had speed, they had a physical threat but ultimately we saw it off," he added.
"Grant Leadbitter's control of the football match and Josh McEachran's decision making allowed us to edge our way back into the game, we got Emanuel Ledesma and Scott McDonald back on the ball.
"Once we were going in the right direction we got in full flow and managed to win the game."