RAMIREZ RIDES TO RESCUE!
GASTON Ramirez struck twice to fire Middlesbrough to the Championship summit on Friday night but manager Aitor Karanka was more impressed with his unsung hero on the wing.
Ramirez, who joined the Teessiders on loan from Southampton in January, netted either side of the break to earn Boro three points at the expense of Wolves.
However, it was energetic winger Albert Adomah, having terrorised Wolves down the left flank alongside full-back George Friend, who caught Karanka’s eye.
Not long ago the Ghana international was out of the Boro side but, on this evidence, he has a major part to play in the run-in.
Karanka said: “One month ago against Leeds when he wasn’t in the squad, everyone was saying ‘what’s happened with Albert Adomah?’
“Nothing happened. He is an amazing player and he has shown in the last few games he is one of the best wingers, if not the best, in the league.”
Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, whose side pulled one back late on through a Ben Gibson own goal, couldn’t help but agree with his opposite number.
“I felt Albert Adomah and George Friend down Boro’s left and our righthand side were dominant,” he said. “It opened the hole for Ramirez to come off the front. We never really got hold of that triangle.”
Ramirez opened the scoring on 24 minutes when the visitors were punished for failing to clear a free-kick. Adam Clayton capitalised by sending a teasing cross into the area and the Uruguayan capitalised on some slack marking to nod home.
Jordan Rhodes has struggled to discover his finishing touch since swapping Blackburn for Boro in January and he was denied by Carl Ikeme shortly before Ramirez made it two. That was ten minutes into the second half, the 25-year-old collecting a pass from Friend and curling past the Wolves stopper.
“Ramirez is playing really well sooner than I thought,” added Karanka.
“I knew his quality but when you have been away from the pitch for a long time, it can take time. He is getting better every single day and you can see that on the pitch.
“He is a player, like we saw against Wolves, who can make the difference.”
Wolves rarely looked like fighting their way back into the game, though they did pull back a conso- lation goal shortly before the end when Joe Mason saw his header deflect of Gibson and deny Dimi Konstantopoulos an 18th Championship clean sheet this season.
Jackett said: “We finished quite strongly, got a goal back, but in the last few minutes we couldn’t really get a run at a very strong defence.
“I was disappointed we weren't able to kick on from the weekend, but it is a tall order coming here and winning.”
Wolves look destined for an anticlimactic finish to the season, with both the play-offs and the bottom three some way off.
Jackett’s side have now suffered defeat in four of their last five games and takes just two points from a possible 15 on the road since New Year’s Day.
For Boro, however, the race for the Premier League is very much on after a perfect response to midweek defeat at the hands of Blackburn.
They are in action again as soon as Tuesday, visiting Rotherham, while clashes with a string of promotion rivals lie in wait for Karanka’s side between now and the end of the season.
ALL SMILES: Gaston Ramirez wheels away after scoring
STAR MAN GASTO
EZ Middle sbroug