EFL

Hull and Middlesbrough refuse to give up play-off dream despite damaging draw

By Sports Desk April 10, 2024

Hull boss Liam Rosenior and Middlesbrough counterpart Michael Carrick are both adamant a top-six finish in the Championship remains within reach despite denting each other’s hopes.

An entertaining 2-2 draw between the sides at the MKM Stadium on Wednesday left them both six points adrift of the play-off spots, with Middlesbrough in ninth, one place ahead of Hull.

But with Hull having five matches of the campaign to play and sixth-placed Norwich and Boro both having four, Rosenior was refusing to draw a line through his side’s season.

“We need to take it to the wire and we have an opportunity to take it to the last day,” Rosenior said. “As we know anything can happen on the last day. Norwich have got tough games, we’ve got tough games.”

Rosenior, though, rued Hull’s inability to take three points despite outplaying for Middlesbrough for large spells after falling behind to Emmanuel Latte Lath’s sixth goal in his last eight matches.

Hull got on top and were well worth a leveller through Jaden Philogene’s cross-cum-shot while Seny Dieng then played Lewis O’Brien into trouble, which allowed Jean Michael Seri to steal in and put the Tigers deservedly ahead before half-time.

While Hull had opportunities to extend their lead, Boro had the final say as a swift break was finished by Finn Azaz, whose 71st-minute strike deflected off Alfie Jones before nestling in the net.

Rosenior added: “It’s the same story, I’m really proud of 99.9 per cent of the stuff we do but we just don’t take advantage and then we shoot ourselves in the foot.

“It’s what could end up – I’m not saying has done – costing us something that is so attainable with this group. That’s the painful thing at the moment for the lads and everyone involved in the club.

“We can see the potential is there but potential is nothing, you have to turn it into results. If we consistently play at that level for the next five games, we’ll come really close.

“We have to be perfect. I don’t mean by winning five games, I mean by managing moments. We have an outstanding football team at this level but we consistently haven’t taken advantage of the moments.”

Despite Middlesbrough walking away with just one point, Carrick was incredulous when asked if he and his side are still optimistic of finishing sixth or higher.

He said: “You’re kidding, aren’t you? Of course we are. One hundred per cent. It’s pretty obvious we’ve got to win the next game. Nothing’s changed from before this game.

“Norwich took a point (in a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday), us and Hull have taken a point. There are games to play.

“Anything can happen in this league so there’s no way we’re giving up on anything just yet.”

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