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Venus' dream debut makes him the favourite for the Middlesbrough post
MARK VENUS was able to reflect on a “dream night” as his debut as Middlesbrough's caretaker manager resulted in the club's biggest win of the season.
Charged with the task of convincing chairman, Steve Gibson, he deserves to be appointed as Tony Mowbray's permanent successor, Venus provided a compelling argument that now leaves him as the bookmakers' favourite for the role.
Albert Adomah's first-half double paved the way for a convincing 4-0 win over Doncaster, with second-half strikes from Kei Kamara and debutant Daniel Ayala further underlining the extent of Boro's dominance.
Gibson has promised to take his time as he ponders his next move, and Venus is now all but certain to be in charge when Boro travel to Blackburn next weekend.
“The chairman will do what's best for the club, and he has to,” said Venus, who was raised as a boyhood Boro fan. “During that time, I will do my best for him and for the club. I will move forward and speak to the chairman whenever he wants.
“I've enjoyed it, and the last three days at work have been brilliant. Tonight was just a dream – it couldn't have gone any better. It doesn't get better than this, does it?
“I'm just pleased for everyone connected with the football club. All the fans turned out in force, and the team produced for them. It was just a good night for the area really.”
Venus' bold team selection saw him axe Frazer Richardson and Dean Whitehead from the squad, with George Friend, Jacob Butterfield and Lukas Jutkiewicz also dropping out of the starting XI.
By switching to a 4-4-2 system, Venus freed Adomah and Mustapha Carayol to run riot from the flanks, with Kamara and Marvin Emnes also helping to form a fluid front four that caused the Doncaster defence problems all evening.
Energetic and committed from the off, Boro's players have clearly bought into Venus' methods, and Emnes was quick to endorse his candidature for a full-time role.
“I think he's got a good chance,” said the attacker. “Winning 4-0 wasn't easy, so he must have a chance. Mark told us to go out there and play football, and he said we had to fight for each other.”
The win lifted Boro into the top half of the table, and elicited a positive response from the Riverside's biggest crowd of the campaign.
A night that was billed as the 'Spirit of Teesside' ended in a rare display of togetherness that augurs well if Venus is asked to take things forward in a permanent capacity.
“I'm just pleased for the supporters that the team gave them something to cheer about,” said the current caretaker. “From my point of view, I hope everybody comes back and enjoys watching us. I'm just looking forward to the next game...hopefully.
“I just picked a team I thought could help everyone. Fortunately, I got it right. If I hadn't I'm sure there would have been questions asked, but I'm really pleased that it went right for us.”
Adomah's eighth-minute strike settled any early nerves, with the winger's second goal at the end of the first half deservedly doubling Boro's lead.
Kamara and Ayala extended the advantage further, and by the end, the hosts could have run up quite a scoreline had a couple more of their gilt-edged opportunities gone in.
“If you go on the chances, we comprehensively had more clear-cut chances than them,” said Venus, “In any league, a team where we are in the league is going to have some nervy moments. But I think we deserved to win. The key was that everybody did their jobs and worked hard for each other.
“I believe in playing football. The team are lacking a bit of confidence, everybody can see that. This should give them a massive boost, I hope it does. I hope we can all grow together – the fans, the club and the players.”
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