Boro skipper says sorry to coaches and fans

Grant Leadbitter
Grant Leadbitter

A CRESTFALLEN Grant Leadbitter says Middlesbrough’s 2-0 Championship play-off final loss was a disservice to the club’s coaching staff.

Norwich raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes at Wembley on Monday, Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond the scorers, against a Boro team whose slow start proved costly.

The manager’s top drawer, the staff are top drawer, and we’ll stay together.

The result means that the Riverside will play host to Championship football for a seventh successive season.

Boro captain Leadbitter was visibly devastated with the result and performance, saying; “It hurts. It hurts.

But his biggest grievance with the scoreline was that the players let down their manager Aitor Karanka and his staff.

“All the players, on our behalf, have let the staff down,” Leadbitter said.

“The manager’s top drawer, the staff are top drawer, and we’ll stay together.

“His (Karanka’s) training, his man-management, his methods, his philosophy is really, really top drawer.”

The former Sunderland man was not prepared to look at the more positive aspects of the season, a campaign that has seen the Riverside outfit take Liverpool to penalties in the League Cup, reach the FA Cup Fifth round at the expense of Manchester City and achieve their pre-season aims of reaching the play-offs.

“We didn’t get promoted so there are no positives,” he added. “We’ll reflect over the next 24/48 hours. Next year we have to come back and regroup and keep the squad together.

“Boro fans have been brilliant all season and they were great.

“Hopefully we’ll do well for them next year and get a few more in the ground.”

Norwich’s blistering start was too much for Boro, who failed to recover.

Leadbitter added: “We always knew that the start, the first goal, would be crucial. We tried to get ourselves back into the game but we rarely threatened.

“We had a couple of chances. Congratulations to Norwich, they were the better side on the day.”