NEIL Warnock says he expected Cherries to be "a little bit better" than they showed against his Middlesbrough side.

Boro were beaten 3-1 at Vitality Stadium.

Goals from Philip Billing, Jefferson Lerma and Dominic Solanke earned Jonathan Woodgate's side victory, cancelling out a Duncan Watmore goal.

But Warnock, whose side sit ninth, two places and six points below Cherries, says he feels the south coast club should be showing more than they are.

"I was stood there in the first half thinking, we’re playing some good stuff here, it’s promising," said Boro boss Warnock.

"We’ve always known what we’ve lacked. But when you look at their wage bill and the players they’ve got, you’d expect them to be a little bit better than what they were today, wouldn’t you?

"I think they’ve got to go up this year and if they don’t, I don’t see a problem next season. So I think they’ve got to go up with the wage bill and the players they’ve got, whereas I think we’ve got one or two new lads coming in and I think it’s quite an exciting prospect for us."

Asked if Middlesbrough were missing a target man up front, Warnock added: "No comment. I’ve said it every game, haven’t I? How do you think I feel?

"You’ve just got to bite your tongue haven’t you really, although I didn’t think their target men, their strikers were any good so I wouldn’t have wanted any of theirs. We know what we need. It’s not hard."

The game was locked at 1-1 when a mistake from midfielder Sam Morsy allowed Lerma to fire home, after the Egypt international failed to clear a Billing cross.

"I’m disappointed obviously," said Warnock of the defeat.

"I thought when we equalised there was only one team that was going to win it and then we conceded, I don’t think Sam minds me saying, it’s a Sunday league goal really.

"And he’s been superb, I thought he was our best player, Sam. So he’s disappointed, he’s apologised to the lads. That’s life.

"I thought we played some good stuff at times. The first half I thought we dominated it and then conceded a goal like we did, out of nothing really."