Michael Carrick calls on Middlesbrough to make most of cup opportunity

By Sports Desk December 19, 2023

Boss Michael Carrick has urged Middlesbrough to seize their chance after reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Jonny Howson, Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks eased them into the last four with a 3-0 win at Port Vale.

The Championship side reached a major domestic semi-final for the first time in 17 years, since losing to West Ham in the last four of the FA Cup in 2006.

An injury-hit Boro made light work of their League One hosts to avoid an upset and are the only EFL team left in the last four.

Carrick said: “Sometimes in your career there are times and you have to make the most of the opportunity when it comes your way.

“When the door opens you have to run through it and the boys certainly sprinted through it.

“We’re not stupid. We know whoever’s left in the draw probably wants to play us and see it as a chance to get to Wembley.

“It’s a hell of an opportunity. It’s about us and what we can achieve. You’re in a semi-final and it’s motivation and inspiration itself.

“It was a fantastic attitude and mentality. We’re decimated in terms of numbers in the squad but it’s part of the journey and we’re enjoying it.

“We’re in the semi-final and who would have thought it, it’s a great thing to look forward to. Who knows what will happen next, we’ll see who we get.”

Howson opened the scoring after 11 minutes when his 25-yard strike clipped Jason Lowe and looped in over Connor Ripley.

Vale, who demonstrated plenty of endeavour, tried to recover but fell further behind after 23 minutes when Sam Silvera crossed for Rogers to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Gavin Massey lifted Vale’s best chance over from close range and Crooks wrapped up the victory eight minutes into the second half, bullying his way through and finding the bottom corner.

The hosts lost Oliver Arblaster to a serious leg injury and boss Andy Crosby admitted they were second best.

He said: “We are trying to play in a way in our own league, with control and counter pressing but as soon as there was space on the transition you could see the difference between the players.

“They executed the finishes well, maybe got a bit of luck with the first which took a deflection over Connor but they deserved to win the game and hopefully they can progress in the semi-final.

“Ollie has a really bad gash around his knee, it’s gone right through to the bone and he’s gone to hospital. He has been so good for us and he’s our number one concern.”

Related items

  • Manchester City welcome back Kyle Walker for Real Madrid clash Manchester City welcome back Kyle Walker for Real Madrid clash

    Kyle Walker is set to return as holders Manchester City bid to reach the Champions League semi-finals for a fourth successive year against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

    The England right-back has missed the treble-winners’ last five matches after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty last month.

    Walker played a full part in City’s final training session before they host Spanish giants Real in the second leg of their quarter-final tie at the Etihad Stadium, which will begin with the aggregate score 3-3.

    Manager Pep Guardiola said: “He’s been training good. I don’t know if from the beginning or from the bench, but I think he will be with us tomorrow.

    “It is incredibly good news for many reasons. You know the physicality is massively important and in football it is how you challenge your opponent. Everyone knows the quality Kyle has.”

    Walker did not travel to Spain for last week’s pulsating first-leg draw at the Bernabeu Stadium but was an unused substitute for the 5-1 thrashing of Luton on Saturday.

    Team-mate Bernardo Silva has welcomed the potential return of the City skipper.

    The midfielder said: “He is very important because we know Kyle has controlled some of the best players in the world and always does a phenomenal job when he plays.

    “He’s our captain and he’s a player who, in the last few years, has played against players like Vinicius, (Kylian) Mbappe and Neymar and has defended against them like nobody else.”

  • Jude Bellingham: Joining Real Madrid last summer was ‘no-brainer’ Jude Bellingham: Joining Real Madrid last summer was ‘no-brainer’

    Jude Bellingham admitted joining Real Madrid last summer was a “no-brainer”.

    The England midfielder opted for the Spanish giants amid interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs after three highly-impressive seasons with Borussia Dortmund.

    The 20-year-old Birmingham academy product has hardly looked back since, netting 20 times in an outstanding debut campaign at the Bernabeu Stadium that has catapulted him into the game’s elite.

    Bellingham, speaking at a press conference ahead of Real’s Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, said: “I had good chats with loads of clubs – including Dortmund – and my family were great in helping me chew up that information.

    “It’s difficult while you are still in the season to take in the information and process it and still have to play at the weekend or in the Champions League.

    “I had conversations with other teams but when Madrid came in it was a no-brainer really. The size of the club, the project, the plan going forward, the chance to play with such amazing players.

    “I just jumped at it. That’s why I made my decision.”

    Bellingham has no doubt his game has developed considerably since joining Real and he puts a lot of that down to the influence of veteran manager Carlo Ancelotti.

    He said: “I think the sign of a good manager is when he can make you believe that you’re a bit better than maybe you thought you were before.

    “I think he fills me with that confidence every day, in training and in the game. Not only that, but he’s a top person. He makes you feel comfortable.”

    Real are locked in a ferocious battle with holders City to advance to the semi-finals after an enthralling 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu last week.

    City are now regarded as the favourites due to their home advantage – and the fact they thrashed Real 4-0 at the same venue last season – but Bellingham is taking no notice of predictions.

    He said: “That’s just the impression from the outside, the feeling from everyone else.

    “I’m not a gambler and I’ve never been to the bookies, so I don’t know about betting favourites and things like that.

    “But I do know that we’re a pretty good team ourselves. They’re the treble winners, they’re an amazing team but we’ve got some brilliant players.

    “There’s external noise, but internally, we’re confident.”

  • Jude Bellingham demands more anti-racism measures but ‘doubts’ it will happen Jude Bellingham demands more anti-racism measures but ‘doubts’ it will happen

    Jude Bellingham has demanded football’s authorities – particularly in Spain – do more to combat racism but admitted: “I doubt that will happen.”

    The England midfielder’s call came after his Real Madrid team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni was racially abused by a Mallorca supporter after scoring last weekend.

    It is the latest of a number of incidents in Spanish football, with another Real player in Vinicius Jr having been a regular victim of offensive chanting and gestures.

    Bellingham, speaking to media ahead of Real’s Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, said: “I think in the games where we go away, in La Liga especially, you almost get so used to it that I wasn’t even aware of the (Tchouameni) incident. I think that’s a massive problem in itself.

    “More has got to be done, whether it’s the punishment and how you react to it or how you move proactively to (stop) this kind of thing.

    “I think it’s a horrible way for a player to prepare for a game, knowing that they’re probably going to get racially abused. It’s disgusting. It shouldn’t happen.

    “The people in power need to do more. No-one deserves that kind of thing.

    “It’s definitely a call-out for the people who are in charge to take control. I doubt that will happen.

    “It’s going to be something that I imagine we will still have to just deal with going into games. You have just got to play your game and hope that the people look after you, and they’re not doing it well enough at the moment.”

    Vinicius broke down in tears at a press conference as he discussed his experiences of racism ahead of Brazil’s recent friendly against Spain in Madrid.

    Bellingham expressed sympathy for his colleague.

    He said: “I think the blame gets shifted more onto him because of maybe his playing style and the way he likes to express himself and I don’t think that’s fair.

    “The game would miss players like Vini if he decided to take a break because of this thing. More needs to be done to support these players.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.