Middlesbrough FC news: Boro man defends George Saville red card as youngsters prepare for Manchester United test
Jonny Howson has defended his Middlesbrough team-mate George Saville after the midfielder’s red card at Derby County on Saturday.
Saville was dismissed for a late challenge on Rams midfielder Krystian Bielik in the 32nd minute, a decision which left Boro with a mountain to climb at 1-0 down.
However, Howson refused to criticise his colleague for ‘going for the ball.’
"Sav is extremely disappointed," Howson told BBC Tees after Boro’s 2-0 defeat at Pride Park. "It is one of them situation. He went for the ball and sometimes in 50/50s like that, them things can happen.
"He went in fully committed and for me there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s going for the ball. For me its not 'a stupid challenge', its just two lads committed.
"Was it harsh? I don’t know. These days you barely touch someone and it's a yellow card.
Phillip Cocu thinks Boro will improve
Derby boss Phillip Cocu was asked about Middlesbrough following his side’s win at Pride Park, a result which left the Teessiders 22nd in the Championship.
“The Middlesbrough games I saw before this game were all draws and we know about draws because we had quite a few ourselves,” replied the Dutchman.
“A lot of those games were quite tight, so a decisive moment at a set-piece or conceding a late goal is keeping them a little bit more at the bottom than if you look at the team, because they have quality players and they can play as well.
“You have to fight to get out of their position, it is not easy but, like we said for us a few weeks ago, if you can get a few good results, you also can climb the table. They will climb.”
Boro youngsters back in action
Finally, Middlesbrough Under-23s will host Manchester United Under-23s at the Riverside tonight.
Boro sit fourth in Premier League 2, Division 2, ahead of the fixture, five points behind United who are second.
The Teessiders drew 2-2 at Newcastle last week in a game which first-team players Marc Bola, Marcus Browne and Anfernee Dijksteel featured in.