Middlesbrough boss has message for fans after West Ham defeat

Adama Traore tries to press forward for Middlesbrough against West HamAdama Traore tries to press forward for Middlesbrough against West Ham
Adama Traore tries to press forward for Middlesbrough against West Ham
Middlesbrough remain just four points above the Premier League drop zone following Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to impressive West Ham.

But boss Aitor Karanka said he was happy with the Teessiders’ efforts in their 10th league loss, as they remained in 16th place.

And he reiterated: “I said at the start of the season that if we finish 17th that will be perfect – and that is still the case.”

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Andy Carroll’s double inspired West Ham, who climbed to 10th place in the table as they maintained their recent resurrection.

Cristhian Stuani got Boro back to 1-1, but substitute Jonathan Calleri completed the Hammers’ job in stoppage time with his first goal for the club, a shot which deflected in off Adam Clayton.

Karanka was less than impressed with the crowd expressing their desperation for his players to get the ball forward early, but he could not fault his team’s efforts.

The Spaniard said: “I said after Watford it hadn’t been a good game to watch and I think this was a good game to watch, but no good for us.

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“I am really proud of the players because once again they are doing their best every single training session, every single game, and they have to keep going.

“Obviously when you concede from a set-piece there are things you can fix, and especially when they have seen on the videos how good Carroll is in the air.

“But again, I don’t think it’s a day to blame someone because we win as a team and we lose as a team.

“In the last moments, we – our team and our style – was broken up on the pitch.

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“But playing in the way we did for most of the afternoon, I am confident we will win games.”

Boro next face Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup this Saturday.

Carroll saluted the team spirit which has united the West Ham dressing room in the wake of Dimitri Payet’s plea to leave the club.

The Hammers were rocked by the news that their star man wanted to go earlier this month, but Slaven Bilic’s side have responded in the best possible way by putting together back-to-back Premier League victories without him.

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Carroll has been at the centre of that, scoring a stunning volley in a 3-0 demolition of Crystal Palace and then helping himself to a double at the Riverside to dispel memories of a difficult start to the campaign.

The 28-year-old striker enthused: The lads have come together even stronger recently with everything that’s going on and you can see on the pitch everyone is working together, putting the grit in and that’s when the points come.

“The morale in the dressing room is fantastic. All the lads are having a laugh before and it’s great to be around. Everyone wants to work for the manager and it’s brilliant.

“It was tough at the beginning of the season, but we came out of that and we’re just thinking about each game as it comes.”

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Middlesbrough: Valdes, Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, de Roon, Forshaw (Gestede 83), Traore, Negredo, Stuani (Bamford 81). Subs not used: Da Silva, Leadbitter, Fischer, Guzan, Downing. Booked: Gibson, Bernardo. Goal: Stuani 27.

West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble (Fernandes 54), Obiang, Feghouli (Collins 83), Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll (Calleri 67). Subs not used: Adrian, Fletcher, Oxford, Quina. Booked: Lanzini. Goals: Carroll 9, 43, Calleri 90.

Att: 30,848. Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).