Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Conquered the Fear

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Conquered the Fear

Article excerpt

Boro believe they have got what it takes to go all the way in the UEFA Cup if they can overcome Roma at the Olympic Stadium tonight.

The manner of Boro's first leg victory against the Italians at the Riverside has won over any remaining doubters at the Riverside Stadium.

If Boro can beat the competition's favourites - and it should have been 2-0 at least - then the door to Eindhoven is open.

The key to the sudden injection of belief was the way in which Boro learned from the disastrous defeat at home to Sporting Lisbon at the same stage last season. On that occasion Boro lost 3-2, and faced a uphill task in the second leg in Portugal.

Now Boro are in the driving seat and Steve McClaren enthused: "We learned a lot about Europe from the Sporting game. We learned that you must stay fully concentrated for the full game.

"You saw the benefits of what we learned in the first leg against Roma, because it's given us the advantage."

At the same time, McClaren is not under-estimating tonight's task, and that's why he believes experience is the key. He said: "We have great experience of European competition in this club.

"I have eight or nine years' experience myself, going back to my days at Manchester United.

"We believe we have put this experience to good use and it will stand us in good stead tonight. We've respect for Roma, but we don't fear them."

With magnificent backing from the fans tonight, anything's possible.

"The bottom line is that nobody should believe that this is Boro's last game in Europe. Boro's nine-man changed line-up for a Premiership clash at Charlton on Sunday perfectly sums up the determination of everybody at the Riverside not to miss this golden European opportunity.

BORO'S date in Rome will bring back memories for chairman Steve Gibson and Keith Lamb.

The duo have had dealings with Roma in the past when they tried to sign the club's Italian international striker Marco Delvecchia. The player was a target for Bryan Robson and Lamb negotiated a pounds 6m transfer fee.

Gibson and Lamb then flew out one February day to meet Delvecchia and his representatives. …

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