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Ben Gibson offers revealing insight into how Middlesbrough will approach Aston Villa second leg

Boro's Ben Gibson gets to grips with Villa sub Jonathan Kodjia. Picture by Frank Reid
Boro's Ben Gibson gets to grips with Villa sub Jonathan Kodjia. Picture by Frank Reid

Ben Gibson believes the ‘rollercoaster’ of the Championship play-offs will go down to the wire – and he insists there is nothing to fear.

Middlesbrough are a goal down heading into the second leg of the semi-final against Aston Villa at Villa Park tomorrow night.

A Mile Jedinak header was enough for Villa to seal the advantage at the halfway stage, but Gibson insists it is still all to play for with Premier League promotion the goal.

The Boro skipper said: “It’s a rollercoaster and it will go right to the wire. It’s only half-time and there’s still a lot of football to be played. It won’t be difficult for us to get up for the second leg after losing the first.

“Everyone gave their all and played well, it just wasn’t our day. We were done by the set piece, but we still have a chance on Tuesday to upset the odds, and there’s an opportunity to get to Wembley, so we won’t need any motivating for that.

“There won’t be any lads walking off with their head down – we all know it’s half-time and it’s far from done.

“I said to my family when I left the house before the game, ‘we play football for these occasions’. Since I was a little boy, you dream of being part of these occasions, so there’s no point fearing them.

“When I retire, I’ll look back on these days and I’ll miss that feeling in your belly, that fire and the eyes of the fans.

“The fans were phenomenal and it’s a shame we couldn’t get that goal for them. There’s lots to be positive about and we look forward to Tuesday.”

Boro are sweating on the severity of an injury picked up by Gibson’s central defensive partner Daniel Ayala, forced off with a suspected knee injury.