Boro Great Start: Now Push On
By Rob Nichols
Friday 30 Sep 2011 12:49:00
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Boro boss Tony Mowbray doesn’t put too much stock in statistics but he wants to see his team keep on keeping on at Reading tomorrow. It is a strong start but start is all it is and Mowbray knows it is a platform that gives us a chance this season. But we need to keep it going.


If we go unbeaten at Reading then Mowbray’s Boro will enter the record books again, equalling our best ever start to a season. What an achievement and what a contrast to Strachan’s failing team of pre-season favourites. But we know the dangers of not getting it right at Reading only too well. We got well and truly hammered there last season and Mowbray will want to guard against any kind of repeat. In fact revenge for that 5-2 reverse would be sweet and also further indicate the enormous strides we have made.


Tony Mowbray talks here about Reading and our start to the season. He puts the two 0-0 draws in perspective because he is always so grounded. But how good would it be to go into the international break still unbeaten and top of the pile in the Championship? Come on Boro



Q: Well, Tony the run goes on is it in any sense a burden to you?

TM: No its good to not lose football matches. It would have been nice to have sneaked the last 2 games 1-0 rather than drawing them 0-0 but the next test is in front of us away at Reading. We lost 5-2 there last season probably my worst day at the club results wise so far. We go back there trying to put that right and we know how difficult that is going to be. It is another long trip for us on the back of the trips to London last week but we have done all right on the road this season, we remain unbeaten and have won them all away in the league. So we go there with nothing to fear other than trying to find a performance that can get us another result.

Q: The home games have been harder than the away, or certainly the results suggest that.

TM: I had a look on Tuesday night at the results and if you look through the top two leagues there was hugely more away wins than home wins and I think generally the trend from the start of the season it seems to be counter attack football now and is maybe suiting the away teams who are waiting for the home teams who go attacking trying to score goals and end up getting beat. I’m pretty sure it is not just Middlesbrough that have got a better record on the road this season. But over the course of the season when the hard winter nights come in I’m sure it will settle down and I’m sure any time that is successful will get more points at home than away. Just this early part of the season it does seem very common any given Saturday or Tuesday night there seems to be a lot of away victories.

Q: Is that 4:5:1 formation that people are favouring at the moment have a part to play in that?
You mention 4:5:1 but we haven’t played against that too often this year. The last two teams have played diamonds in midfield. They’ve played in between the lines. They’ve both played two strikers. Played very narrow in midfield, one protecting  the back four and one behind the strikers and it is very difficult to get through the middle of the pitch to actually hurt teams. A lot of teams play as you say, whatever formation you want to call it 4:1 or 4:2:3:1. It is what suits the players. I felt in our last two home games the away teams seem to have found the way that suits them from difficult starts. Both
Ipswich results-wise and Leicester have both settled on a system that suits them as proved they’ve come to the Riverside and got clean sheets. So, it seems to be something that works well for them. Ipswich obviously went away to West Ham and won. Leicester had a 0-0 at Cardiff only a few days ago. So, difficult teams to play against and I see them as positive rather than negative results for us.

Q: Signs are that this could be a well matched division at the moment?

TM: I think so. It has been an interesting league. The promoted teams have done well, Brighton and Southampton but Peterborough should be mentioned as well. They’ve shocked a few teams and had some fantastic results and showed how competitive they’re going to be in the League. West Ham, as we expected, are up there and the likes of Leicester and Ipswich that were touted early season are starting to find their way in the league, finding a formation that suits them and will  push on from this point I’m sure.

Q: Does it give you a boost to go top as there is an opportunity to do that this weekend? Would you like to be at the summit?

TM: I don’t really put much significance in it. We are just accumulating points at the moment. In my mind right up to Christmas, you are half way through, get through the winter, pitches get heavier, you will have more muscle injuries in your team and see how your squad survives and gets through it and then see where you are as you get to the other end and move towards a hopefully mild spring and firmer pitches and hopefully you are in a decent position to push on and use the talent you’ve got in your squad. But I don’t think many managers put much stock in the first ten or so games. I think it is fair to say it does give you a feel of the teams that will probably be at the top end of the table and the ones scrapping. Because as we found last year, once you are down at the bottom it is very hard to play catch up. It means you have to win 3 or 4 games on the bounce to actually move anyway. Winning one, losing one doesn’t get you anywhere in this league. So, we have given ourselves a platform to have a decent season I would like to think but we have to push on from this point and continue to win games.

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