Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Must Get Even Better - Mowbray

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Must Get Even Better - Mowbray

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Cameron ? (0191) 201-6113 ? neil.cameron@ncjmedia.co.uk

TONY MOWBRAY believes his Middlesbrough team need to improve on their impressive league form so far this season if they are to win promotion.

That is a big task for a squad who sit fourth in the table, just two points off the automatic Premier League promotion place.

The Championship takes place over an exhausting 46-game season and Middlesbrough's record up until now reads played 26, won 15, drawn two and lost nine.

Nobody at the Teesside club is pretending this campaign is now about anything other than getting back to English football's top tier, and for that to happen, according to the manager, everyone must kick on from what already has been a tremendous effort.

Mowbray said: "I think we're probably going to have to be slightly better in the second half of the season than we were in the first half. We can't afford to lose as many games, let's put it that way.

"I think we are trying to push on, get better and win more matches and yet we know how hard that is. I fully believe we can do that if we keep the core of our players fit, and fingers crossed this time next week there won't be too many unavailable for us."

Watford, who come to the Riverside tomorrow, are in sixth place, the final play-off position, with Millwall, Leeds United and Brighton below them.

These are clubs with nowhere near the depth and indeed talent of Middlesbrough's squad, while richer clubs such as Blackburn and Wolves, relegated last season, find themselves 13th and 18th respectively well beyond the halfway stage.

You would imagine that it would take a disaster for Middlesbrough not to finish at least in the top six. However, Mowbray won't rule out any scenario.

He said: "I don't think we discount anybody to be fair. You don't need to look any further than Reading last year, who were mid-table and came up to Christmas and won 17 out of 19 games and catapulted themselves to the top of the league.

"You look at some of the teams - Wolves, for instance, they've just changed their manager and they're talking about reaching the play-off - and they're 18th in the table. …

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