Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

STRACH PRAISES BATTLERS; Winning Mentality Shines Through: Boss Happy after Victory

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

STRACH PRAISES BATTLERS; Winning Mentality Shines Through: Boss Happy after Victory

Article excerpt

Byline: ERIC PAYLOR

GORDON Strachan today hailed the immense character of his side after Boro opened their 2010 account in style.

Barnstorming Boro crushed hapless Doncaster Rovers by 4-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium to leave no doubts that the Strachan show is back on the road.

Victory edged Boro one point closer to the play-offs - five points adrift of sixth placed Sheffield United.

But Strachan was more delighted with the team's winning mentality on the night.

He said: "We knew that we had to work very hard if we wanted to win the game.

"We've got our fair share of injuries, but the players have remained very committed. "The goals went in for us last night. We have produced some very good performances, like Crystal Palace away, where we did well but the ball wouldn't go in.

"Scoring goals is something we are still looking at and once we get that organised we will be fine."

Strachan could have no complaints on the goal front last night, with Adam Johnson netting a brace to take his tally to 12.

Leroy Lita also scored his seventh of the campaign, while Jonathan Franks got on to the scoresheet for the first time.

Johnson was at his brilliant best last night and Strachan enthused: "He is a man and he is also a footballer.

"The first goal was terrific. That's what he can do.

"Obviously Adam had a big part to play in the second goal, which was important to us, while the last one was down to quick thinking."

National media reports continue to link Johnson with a move away from Teesside, and his performance last night will have increased the number of high-level admirers.

But Strachan has repulsed all inquiries so far and is still hopeful that the winger will be here until the end of the season.

In addition to Johnson, Strachan was delighted with several individual performances.

None more so than Kiwi centre-forward Chris Killen, who led the line superbly.

Strachan said: "I thought Killen was fantastic for us. …

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