HomeCarrick backs Middlesbrough to learn from 'brutal' Chelsea defeat

Carrick backs Middlesbrough to learn from ‘brutal’ Chelsea defeat


Michael Carrick described Middlesbrough’s 6-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea as “brutal”, though he believes the experience of facing the Blues will benefit his players in the long run.

Middlesbrough travelled to Stamford Bridge for Tuesday’s second leg with a lead to defend after Hayden Hackney’s goal guided them to a surprise 1-0 win over Mauricio Pochettino’s men at the Riverside Stadium earlier this month.

However, Middlesbrough saw their dreams of a first EFL Cup final appearance since 2004 dashed in crushing fashion, with Chelsea racing into a 4-0 lead before half-time.

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Middlesbrough captain Jonny Howson put through his own net early on, with Cole Palmer scoring twice for Chelsea either side of half-time to join Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi and Noni Madueke on the scoresheet.

Morgan Rogers netted a late consolation for Middlesbrough but it was a chastening experience for the Championship outfit overall, leaving Carrick to acknowledge Pochettino’s side were simply too “ruthless” for his men.

“It’s tough. It’s hugely disappointing in the end because the boys have worked so hard to get here and in the first leg, to be in a position where we come here and are right there,” Carrick told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Six shots on target, six goals. It’s pretty ruthless, pretty hard and pretty brutal. I know there are a couple of goals where we could have done better, but I can’t fault the boys for that.

“The effort and the way they stuck to it, I was really proud of them to be honest because that is not easy. I felt it was a bit brutal how ruthless they were.

“It’s tough and credit to them for sticking to it. It was a little bit of shellshock. We came here to play a certain way and we thought we were in it and then all of a sudden the writing was on the wall.

“We kept going and the big moments unravelled a little bit. They scored from nowhere in some ways and then Morgan has a chance from a corner at 1-0 and we needed them to go for us. They went for us last time and they didn’t go for us this time.”

While Chelsea will now face either Liverpool or Fulham in the Wembley Stadium showpiece on February 25, Middlesbrough’s focus turns to their bid to escape the second tier.

Carrick’s team are just three points adrift of the play-off places with 18 games to play this season, and he believes their EFL Cup run will serve them well in the battle for a top-six finish.

“That’s the first time any of our boys have played in a semi-final so it’s not something they are used to,” the former Manchester United midfielder said.

“We have got some older boys who have had great careers and then younger lads who know what it means to play in that sort of game now.

‘They will learn from that after they have gotten over the disappointment. There is a lot to play for this season.

“This is not going to make or break the season. This was a bonus in a way. We have a good squad and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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