Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Set Sights on Devil of a Job

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Set Sights on Devil of a Job

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

Steve McClaren is ready to take a leaf out of the Manchester United coaching manual in a bid to bring success to Middlesbrough.

The Teessiders go into tonight's Carling Cup fourth round clash with Everton having extended their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions with Sunday's 1-0 Premiership victory at Manchester City.

They have lost just two of the last 11 matches and conceded only four times, and while they have found goals hard to come by themselves, McClaren knows just how precious narrow victories can be from his days as number two to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

"I remember being at Manchester United and always saying that those 1-0s are great results," he said. "They're the ones that win you things at the end of the season."

Boro have not conceded a single goal in their last five Premiership outings, a new club record, and that is the result of a conscious decision to make themselves more difficult to beat.

After collecting just one point from the first 15 on offer this season, McClaren dispensed with creative Brazilian Juninho in favour of his more robust compatriot Doriva, and he, in tandem with George Boateng in the midfield, has provided greater protection for a back four which itself has a reputation for meanness.

The manager freely admits he would prefer to see his side play with the panache he firmly believes it has, especially after the addition of Gaizka Mendieta and Bolo Zenden, but is happy with the foundation his players have laid.

"I like to play," he said. "Although we got the result on Sunday, we were disappointed with the performance. We've got creative players who can play, and we didn't perform when we had the ball on Sunday.

"But anybody who's actually seen us in the games we've played against Chelsea and Newcastle, we played outstandingly. …

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