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Mowbray won't panic and calls for focus
TONY MOWBRAY wants Middlesbrough to show the mental strength to recover from the bruises they have from Blackpool and has called for everyone to stay positive in the aftermath of the defeat.
After being taught a few attacking lessons at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday when Nathan Delfouneso and Thomas Ince showed they will inflict damage on any Championship defence, Boro must pick themselves up quickly for a trip to league leaders Blackburn tomorrow.
It was the third away defeat in a row for Mowbray’s men in the league, but the Middlesbrough manager sees no reason to overreact knowing that a 100 per cent home record has made for a decent start to the campaign.
It is with that in mind that Mowbray has urged his players and supporters to stay confident, learn from the mistakes of Blackpool and put the failings to one side and move on.
“We have to win football matches and the team is fully aware of that.,” said Mowbray. “It’s disappointing, frustrating to feel we were beaten by a better team on Tuesday night. It’s annoying to think like that.
“There will be times when that happens over the course of a season, though. There will be other times when we are on top, totally dominant and let’s just keep going, one defeat doesn’t make for a bad season.
“Let’s not knock too many players and let’s accept we got beaten by a better team on that night. We just have to look ahead and look to improve, this is still a relatively new squad here.”
Friday’s trip to Ewood Park will be Middlesbrough’s third match inside six days, which is a gruelling schedule for any team particularly when two of those are away from the Riverside Stadium.
Mowbray will make changes again. He hinted in the immediate aftermath of the defeat at Blackpool that Luke Williams and Adam Reach – rested completely after their roles in Saturday’s win over Ipswich – would be involved.
Whatever team he does put out, though, the former West Brom and Celtic manager wants to see no significant signs of blows to their confidence after one, albeit heavy, defeat.
He said: “Friday will be the time for a reaction. We prepared extremely well in terms of analysis and I have no problems with any of that. Blackpool don’t change shapes, they don’t have a surprise up their sleeve, like doing something different, they play like that every game, so we were happy with everything we did.
“We knew they would see a lot of the ball. We just couldn’t deal with it. But it’s gone now. Will it have hit our confidence? We will see, but I would hope not. It’s only one defeat and I want to see a reaction at Blackburn.”
As soon as the team coach left Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night, Mowbray and his backroom team spent the road trip looking at the Blackburn game.
Blackburn have also had a packed fixture list because of this week’s Friday night football, although Rovers’ latter two games of that run have both been at home.
They are yet to lose in the Championship this season and after winning 5-3 at Bristol City last weekend they edged out Barnsley 2-1 on Tuesday as Middlesbrough were defeated down the road at Blackpool.
Mowbray is fully aware of the challenge facing them next.
He said: “I started to plan for Blackburn on the bus journey home on Tuesday night. We had the players in warming up on Wednesday and the preparation with the players for Friday will start after that.
“Blackburn scored five goals at the weekend, they won again in midweek, so it is what it is. It will be another difficult test and we have to be ready for it.
“If we can go to Blackburn and win, then one win is better than two draws – just look at last season. Let’s wait and see.”