Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: WE CAN BOUNCE BACK; Holiday Can Still Be a Christmas Cracker - Boateng

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: WE CAN BOUNCE BACK; Holiday Can Still Be a Christmas Cracker - Boateng

Article excerpt

Byline: By ADAM STEEL

GEORGE Boateng is confident Boro can rebound from their "painful" defeat to West Ham with a win at Birmingham on Boxing Day.

Boro's three-match unbeaten run hit a roadblock at the Riverside as the Hammers claimed a scrappy 2-1 victory.

Boateng admits Boro should have done better defensively for both goals but believes they can bounce back immediately and ignite the festive period at St Andrews.

He said: "We were on a good run and it's painful that it came to an end this way.

"I think we should havemade better decisions before both goals but we didn't and paid the price. The last three games we haven't given easy goals away and on Saturday we made mistakes and they scored from them.

"But I think in Birmingham now we have an opponent which suits us very well and I think overall we will have maybe a little bit better cutting edge than they will.

"Their confidence won't be much better than ours because they lost heavily at Bolton at the weekend as well.

"Three points would set us up for a happy festive period and also push them back more so that they are looking at the relegation zone and we are looking up."

Boro produced some of their best football of the season when they beat the Blues 2-0 at home in September.

But Boateng would settle for winning ugly in the return and believes Boro should take a leaf out of West Ham's book to do it.

He said: "When we beat Birminghamat home it was a very comfortable game but when I spoke to Steve Bruce he said it was one of the only games where they didn't compete well.

"They have a new manager so they will compete. But West Ham were very crafty.

"They were direct and played a lot of long balls. We should put the same effort in and style of play and we will win against Birmingham."

Boateng knows a victory would take some of the pressure off Saturday's long trip to Portsmouth, where Boro have found it tough in the top flight. …

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