Michael Carrick reveals his half-time Middlesbrough message in stunning win over Blackpool
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Isaiah Jones struck in the 15th minute in an authoritative first half and made their dominance pay shortly after the break via a Marcus Forss penalty.
Carrick believed it was the complete performance and the perfect response to the 1-1 draw with Bristol City at the weekend.
He said: “I am delighted for the players, for the amount of effort and how much we’ve improved from game to game.
“Off the back of Saturday, doing so well and not getting what we wanted from the game, to do what we have tonight…
“We had a bit of everything in the performance: goals, clean sheet, we defended well and looked dangerous and played some really good football.”
The former England international was not concerned at half-time that they would let their slender 1-0 lead slip.
“I wasn’t worried, no,” added Carrick. “I didn’t like the last five minutes of the first half and I spoke about that at half-time.
“We were accepting balls coming into the box and not being proactive in stopping it from happening. But we dealt with it ever so well in the second half.
“It was just about not getting too comfortable, which we didn’t. All round it was a good night for us. There were so many positives.”
In the other dugout, Michael Appleton questioned his players’ spirit but also pointed to his depleted squad which has been ravaged by injury and illness.
“The sickness bug has not helped, injuries have not helped,” said Appleton. “We have players playing all over the place.
“They should be happy they are getting an opportunity to play. First and foremost, it might not be in positions they are familiar with, but they’re still professional footballers, playing at this level.
“They should enjoy the challenge that comes with that and if you can’t, you have to question why you are playing.”
Appleton also questioned the awarding of the penalty three minutes after the restart after goalkeeper Chris Maxwell appeared to bring down Forss.