Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping Well

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping Well

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Tallentire

Mark Schwarzer today rubbished claims that his long-running contract wrangle affected his form.

The Aussie is currently showing the kind of ability that led to him being linked with moves to Premiership giants Manchester United and Arsenal earlier this season.

He was outstanding against Bolton at the weekend and his new-found assurance has helped Boro record back-to-back clean sheets in the Premiership for the first time this season.

But he denies the displays have anything to do with the completion of the contract talks that resulted in the 32-year-old finally putting pen to paper on a new three-year extension at the beginning of February.

"I think any player would be pleased to have his future sorted out, regardless of the time of the year," he told the Gazette.

"People said that it (the uncertainty) was affecting my performances but I have to disagree.

"I started the season off well and there's always a period when you have a poor game or two.

"It was great to get back keeping clean sheets," he added, referring to the shut-outs against Blackburn and Bolton.

"Everyone has their job to do and mine is to keep the ball out of the net.

"To make the saves is pleasing but I thought we were tremendous all over the pitch at the Reebok.

"We defended from front to back and it was an outstanding team effort."

Schwarzer paid tribute to the work ethic that helped Boro grab a point against a team that went

into Saturday's televised match on the back of seven straight wins.

"We set our stall out because we knew it was going to be tough with the players we had suspended but we got the result we wanted," he said. "We were struggling a bit for midfield players. It was a crucial game, with Bolton being just one point behind in the league table and it was an important point.

"The most important thing was just not to lose and to keep a clean sheet and we did that.

"We were determined to keep the good defensive record that we set against Blackburn.

"Bolton have some very good players and haven't lost this year so to go there, keep a clean sheet and get a result is excellent. …

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