Michael Carrick hopes FA Cup experience helps Middlesbrough in Carabao Cup semi

By Sports Desk January 07, 2024

Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick is hopeful his side can take the “positive experiences” from their FA Cup third-round loss into their Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Boro were knocked out of the FA Cup by Matty Cash’s late strike in the 87th minute, which took a deflection into the bottom corner.

However, Boro’s attention quickly turns to the Carabao Cup, where they come up against Premier League Chelsea at the Riverside on Tuesday and Carrick hopes his players can take inspiration from their performance against Aston Villa.

He said post-match: “The boys are disappointed, which is good that they’re disappointed.

“It’s not an acceptance of ‘we’ve got beat’, it shows to me, more importantly, how much they felt they were right in the game. That’ll help us.

“We’ve got a lot of young boys in there that are learning, developing and experiences like that and the positive experiences we’ll take from it are no end for Tuesday hopefully and to the end of the season.”

Two games against Chelsea stand in the way of Boro reaching the final of the Carabao Cup, which they won in 2004, and Carrick insists his side are already relishing the test against the Blues.

“I won’t have to lift them (for the Chelsea match),” he added.

“It’s a huge game for us obviously, for each individual it’s a massive game, but for us collectively it’s a massive game.

“There won’t be any issues with recovery or motivation, my job’s already done for that one, they’ve done it themselves by getting into a semi-final.

“It’s a different game completely in terms of tactically and the dangers Chelsea have got, we’ll obviously have to adapt and look forward to that.

“They’re dangerous, at any point they can change a game, we know that.”

The 1-0 victory on Saturday night saw Aston Villa break their poor FA Cup run to progress to the fourth round for the first time since 2016.

Their best chances came from a succession of corners in the second half where goalkeeper Tom Glover pulled off an excellent save to deny John McGinn before Ezri Konsa’s header smashed off the inside of the post and Alex Moreno blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

The winning moment fell to Cash who struck from outside of the box to beat Glover and he revealed it was something he had worked on in training.

He told VillaTV: “I think I’ve worked closely on it in training, out of the box shooting and trying to keep the ball on target, and that’s all you can do.

“Obviously got a lucky deflection but I’m delighted it’s gone in, I’m really happy to get a goal.

“Since I’ve been here I haven’t progressed through to the next round, we made it clear before the game we wanted to do that and we’re obviously delighted to get into the fourth round.”

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