Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mowbray Keen on Reciprocal Giving

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mowbray Keen on Reciprocal Giving

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas ? (0191) 201-6281 ?

TONY Mowbray wants to be rewarded with a late Riverside present after giving his players Christmas Day off. The Boro boss broke with tradition to hand his squad 24 hours away from the training ground to spend with their families - but says he now expects them to repay him with a win over Blackburn.

Mowbray's high-flying Boro slipped up on Saturday against local rivals Leeds, throwing away a goal advantage at Elland Road. But they remain tucked in behind the automatic promotion places and can repair the damage in back-to-back home games against Blackburn and Blackpool, with Henning Berg's struggling Rovers up first this afternoon.

The Boro boss is hoping to see his players respond to being given time off on Christmas Day, having taken the view that having them in was pretty counterproductive.

"I don't think I ever had a day off as a player on Christmas Day. It's almost traditional.

I think we should be judged on Boxing Day if we get a result," he said.

"Being a footballer for 20-odd years, never once did we do tactical shape on Christmas Day. 'This is what we do here, there, this is where we press, or we sit or counter attack.' "Never ever did I do any tactical stuff like that and that day, the day before a game, would tend to be the day you would do that. Generally I would anyway, unless you had doubts or injuries.

"I know Blackburn are going to play 4-4-2, Kazim Richards and (Jordan) Rhodes will be up front, (Danny) Murphy with (Dickson) Etuhu in the middle, so I know what their team will be, I don't need to do tactical stuff a day before the game.

"The lads will all be a bit jaded and tired today after the weekend, they will be suffering from DOMS (delayed onset muscle fatigue), be a bit dozy, tired. I understand my players and I know they will be mentally drained. Tired.

"I am no guru, I know what is right in my mind. Nobody is going to tell me my players are not fit after four months of football. They are.

"Why don't I just leave them with their families, enjoy Christmas. Hopefully there will be a bit of good will coming back, that the gaffer is not a sod and the turn in a performance on Boxing Day to say 'thank you'. …

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