Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Strachan: I'm Embarrassed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Strachan: I'm Embarrassed

Article excerpt

West Brom 2 Middlesbrough 0 RED-FACED Gordon Strachan admitted that he was embarrassed by the way his Middlesbrough team surrendered in a dismal display at West Brom.

Boro kicked off with outside hopes of sneaking into the play-offs, but those flimsy illusions were shattered as a lacklustre team simply failed to compete with a rampant Albion side celebrating promotion back to the Premier League.

The Teessiders were out-fought and out-thought in every department. They were sluggish, shapeless and their passing was wayward; they were toothless and lacked imagination up front and they looked powerless to prevent the bubbling Baggies carving a disjointed defence open at will in a one-sided pummelling.

Only a single-handed show of last-ditch defiance by much-maligned shot-stopper Brad Jones kept the score respectable.

Boro could have had few complaints had the outcome been even more comprehensive than the 5-0 Riverside rout in September that proved the kiss of death for former boss Gareth Southgate.

Strachan pulled no punches in his assessment.

"I was beyond angry with the players," he said. "I was furious with the result and the manner of the result.

"I've been in management 13 years and that is one of very few performances where I was actually embarrassed. You hope you don't get them too many times. It was about the fourth for me. I think that says it all.

"I won't go into what was lacking in the side on the day, but we as a group, not just the players but we as a group, were completely embarrassed by that.

"I'm not going to make any excuses, we just weren't good enough."

Boro went into the televised game with the odds suddenly stacked up against them. Earlier in the afternoon play-off rivals Leicester, Swansea and Blackpool had all won emphatically and by kick-off the yawning gap above Boro was seven points.

"That should have had no impact on the players," insisted Strachan. "I don't care about other results. We just have to do our job and we didn't do it."

It will have hurt Teesside supporters that a stuttering season and the last flickering flames of hope were extinguished by West Brom, the only team to finish below them as they were relegated from the top flight last season. …

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