Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

No Need to Be Blue

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

No Need to Be Blue

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Not too many defeats give you a good time feeling ( but this was one of them.

In a game where Boro were generally expected to be beaten out of sight, they came within a whisker of pulling off a shock result.

But it was the manner of the team's committed and positive effort which warmed the cockles.

If Boro play like this at Liverpool on Saturday then they will win. Simple as that.

Steve McClaren could hardly have adopted a braver approach at Stamford Bridge, with the lively Fabio Rochemback operating in the hole behind strikers Yakubu and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Had Hasselbaink slotted home his 14th-minute chance, instead of hitting the post, then anything could have happened.

In the event Boro did struggle to create further clear-cut openings, though they never stopped probing, and that was the really pleasing aspect.

They also worked so hard together as a team, and defended with great determination.

They rode their luck at times, as would be expected, but could even count themselves unlucky when Chelsea broke through with the winning goal.

Rochemback had cleared two first-half Chelsea efforts off the line, but this time just could not get his body behind John Terry's downward header in the 61st minute and watched in agony as it trickled over the line.

On a day when there was a full compliment of fine performances, none did better than Gareth Southgate.

The skipper rose in stature as the match developed and was a man mountain in the second half.

Alongside him, Chris Riggott has matured into the player that McClaren always believed he would be, and now he seems to be ahead of Ugo Ehiogu on merit.

Riggott is no longer a foil for other players, but takes responsibility and attacks the ball strongly.

Matthew Bates had one or two troublesome moments against the highly talented Arjen Robben, but stuck to his task, and the teenager had a much better second half. …

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