Middlesbrough boss philosphical over defeat at Leeds Utd

Boro manager Tony Mowbray
Boro manager Tony Mowbray

“THAT’S football”.

It may not be a little shorter than the Queen’s Christmas message, but Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray was lost for words to describe how his team came back up the A1 pointless on Saturday.

He saw his side waste a hat-full of chances at a drenched Elland Road, where Leeds United battled back from a goal down to win 2-1.

The Teessiders were clearly deflated after the final whistle, but Mowbray is keen for his players to not dwell on the disappointment on as the fixtures come thick and fast.

“I thought we were the team in ascendency and threatened their goal more than enough to have won the game, never-mind drop points in it”, said Mowbray, who believed his side had enough chances to win “three of four” games.

“But that’s foootall.

“We have to accept it is disappointing for us but we missed a host of chances.

“It’s football. We move on to the next game.”

Lucciano Becchio scored both for the Lilywhites – his fourth and fifth goals against the Teessiders’ in four games.

Lucas Jutkiewicz had opened the scoring on the sodden Yorkshire pitch, but went on to waste two gilt-edged chances in the second half.

Even keeper Jason Steele should have scored from a last minute corner, but fluffed his header.

Despite the scorleine, there were impressive performances across the pitch, with Jonathan Woodgate impressing on his second return to the club where he made his breakthrough.

Mowbray added: “If they perform like that every week we wont be too far away if you look back at Cardiff and at Birmingham, the away form has been good”.

Boro enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, with Jutkiewicz troubling the Leeds goal twice inside the first five minutes before Josh McEachran, who was part of a narrow midfield three missing Nicky Bailey due to a virus, skewed an effort wide from the edge of the box.

But United gradually built up possession, with pantomime villain El-Hadji Diouf the catalyst for most attacks.

And the home side went closest to breaking the deadlock when Sam Byram’s header from a Diouf’s inswinging free kick was only thwarted by an excellent save from Jason Steele.

That proved even more important when just moments later Boro broke the deadlock.

Jutkiewicz was fed through by Marvin Emnes and should have scored with his first effort on goal, but fired straight at Kenny with his left peg.

The dogged striker picked up the rebound and made enough room to hit a right-footed effort.

The ball looked to be heading straight at Paddy Kenny again, but caught the toe of the stretching Alan Tate and spun past the keeper.

Leeds reacted well and could have quickly levelled the scoring as Sam Byram shot just wide before a swift counter attack ended with Jerome Thomas doing the same.

And just as the half-time oranges were being prepared, Leeds levelled with a belter of a goal.

Becchio rifled a right foot shot into the top corner of Steele’s goal, leaving the keeper with no chance as it bounced off the inside of his far post and whizzed across the goal line to go in the his other.

Boro hadn’t dealt with a Byram ball into the box, with Seb Hines and McEachran failing to clear, and it fell to the Argentine’s feet just outside the box for him to strike it on the half-volley.

It was a blow to concede so close to half-time but should have taken the lead shortly after the restart.

Jutkiewicz broke through the defence and sprinted on goal but took the ball too far and will have been disappointed to fire into the side netting.

Emnes fired a dangerous ball across the goal before dancing past a couple of players in the box, but his shot was deflected wide, narrowly missing Richie Smallwood.

The game was opening up, with both sides creating openings on the sticky, heavy pitch.

On the hour, Jutkiewicz fired straight at Kenny after being put through by Grant Leadbitter.

Boro were made to pay for being so wasteful as Becchio claimed his 17th goal of the season minutes later.

Leeds won a corner after Steele tipped a header from the forward over the ball. But the striker made sure with his next header from Diouf’s centre.

The ball skimmed the head of Richie Smallwood, leaving Steele with little chance in the Boro goal.

Boro responded with a long-distance effort from Leadbitter before a shot from substitute Emmanuel Ledesma skimmed across the wet grass and caught Kenny by surprise, with the ball bouncing off his chest.

A goal-mouth scramble from the following corner saw Woodgate try several times to hit the ball goalwards, only to be met by a wall of white.

Emnes went close with a spectacular scissor-kick before Steele missed his moment of glory.

Mowbray will be hoping for more fortune after Christmas when Blackburn arrive at the Riverside on Boxing Day before Blackpool head to the