Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fighting Spirit Key to Next Term

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fighting Spirit Key to Next Term

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers

War cry!

bruising centre-back Emanuel Pogatetz has praised the Dogs of War attitude that finally secured Boro's top flight safety.

And the Alpine hardman insists if the team can harness the fighting spirit they showed at Wigan they can make a marked improvement in their league showing next term.

The uncompromising Austrian defender had a running battle with heavyweight handful Emile Heskey at the JJB stadium and also came off feeling the effects of taking two piledrivers in the midriff after throwing himself bravely in the way of stinging shots from first the former Liverpool striker then Josip Skoko.

Pogatetz told the Evening Gazette: "We knew it was going to be a fight but I am always up for those kind of games and I don't mind if it gets a bit physical.

"There were a few knocks and bruises after the game because our team didn't shirk any tackles and really went for the challenges.

"For me it was a good battle with Emile Heskey. He is very strong and very physical and when you get into challenges with him you can't afford to miss the ball, but you can't afford to stay back off him either.

"And it was not just a battle at the back. Tackles were flying in everywhere on the pitch and the midfield worked very hard to protect us.

"It was pleasing to see that spirit. It is the kind of attitude and performance we need more next season to win more games and be higher up in the league.

"We know that in the pressure games we really perform but we must do it more in every game."

Having secured Premiership safety the hard way, Pogatetz says it is now important to sign off the season with a flourish as Boro bow out against Fulham at the Riverside.

And he acknowledges a debt of gratitude to the Boro fans who have stuck with the team through a difficult season. He said: "At Wigan they made more noise than the home crowd.

"When came out for the warm-up and saw the massive support it gave us a boost and in the game they were very loud, so for us it was almost like a home game.

"We are pleased about that. The fans have stuck together and supported us well through a hard period this season when we didn't get the results. …

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