Josh Coburn earns Michael Carrick praise after earning Middlesbrough another win

By Sports Desk September 30, 2023

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick praised local boy Josh Coburn after the 20-year-old scored his side’s winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.

Coburn, who almost moved away from the Riverside to Plymouth on loan during the transfer window, scored the winner as Boro made it back-to-back victories following a seven-game winless run to begin the Championship season.

Carrick said: “I’m delighted for Josh. It was a big goal for him. Being a local lad coming through, it’s great and what he’s dreamt of for a long time.

“His performance this week has been really good for what he’s given the team and how he’s stepped up. He’s improving all the time so it’s really encouraging.”

Riley McGree’s double put Boro 2-0 up after 12 minutes but they were pegged back to 2-2 before Coburn secured a second successive victory.

Carrick added: “It was a very good win. A bit of all sorts in there. We started well and then let them back into it out of nowhere.

“But we managed to find a way. Being 2-2 after going 2-0 up and still winning shows a lot of character and a lot of heart. I thought we dug in well after half-time. It’s not easy when you start the game so well and then lose the flow.

“It’s been a big week in terms of results. Winning games does give you extra zip, extra energy and a little bit of confidence.

“I did feel it was coming. We’ve probably played better in games and lost this season. It just shows that you’ve got top go through that spell and earn it really, to come out on top.”

One worrying note for Boro was an injury to midfielder Lewis O’Brien which Carrick admitted may be serious.

He said: “We are fearing the worst for Lewis. We’ll have to wait for scans on the bottom of his shin bone, but it doesn’t look good and he could be out for a bit of time.”

Watford manager Valerien Ismael blamed himself for his side’s defeat and for a tactical change that led to Middlesbrough’s early two-goal lead.

McGree took advantage of too much space in the home defence to side-foot home passes on both occasions.

Vakoun Bayo raced clear to reduce the Watford arrears before Wesley Hoedt equalised with an outrageous half-volley after 51 minutes.

Ismael said: “I’m not very happy with myself. Today is on me, the first half, because we tried to change the shape and tactically.

“It didn’t work out like I expected, especially when the opponents score goals quickly. Then the confidence goes low. I cannot blame the players.

“Out of possession was difficult today and we struggled to control the midfield due to my decision.

“We came back but if you start the game two down, it takes a lot of energy to come back into the game. I made the wrong call in the first half. It was my responsibility and I’m frustrated with myself.

“We are still seeking the flow you get when everything goes in the right direction. It’s a process we need to go through, but it’s clear that we are conceding too many goals at the minute.

“The good thing is that are creating a lot of chances and scoring. We have to find the right balance now.

“We are on a difficult run, but the good thing is that the next game is on Wednesday.”

Watford travel to Sunderland on Wednesday with Ismael admitting that he needs to turn his side’s confidence around.

He added: “We want to win games and when you don’t, it’s painful and frustrating. It’s always the same in the Championship. The games come quickly.

“When you win games, you’ve got momentum and you enjoy the next game. When you don’t, the confidence isn’t that high and the next game becomes difficult.

“But it’s only September so there’s still a long way to go, but I don’t have the feeling that we are powerless or that we have no idea.”

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