Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick has hit back at claims that his squad are ‘in crisis’ after suffering another defeat at the weekend.
The Teesside club went into Saturday’s clash with Blackburn Rovers in search of their first win of the campaign, but the Lancashire side emerged with a 2-1 victory, leaving Carrick’s side with just one point from their opening six fixtures. They travel to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow and will be hoping to finally get their season up and running against a team in which they share an identical record with, albeit with a worse goal difference.
The manager has had to contend with a summer of change at the Riverside Stadium, with various incomings and outgoings making it difficult to build on last season’s march to the play-offs. The loss of top goalscorer Chuba Akpom has left a huge gap in the squad, but the reliance on loan stars has also taken its toll, with the likes of Cameron Archer, Alex Mowatt, Aaron Ramsey, Ryan Giles and goalkeeper Zack Steffen all returning to their parent clubs in the summer.
Several new signings have arrived through the door and there is an argument that they will take time to gel, and the temporary transfers of Lewis O’Brien and Sam Greenwood will add much-needed quality. However, football is a results game and time is a luxury Carrick does not have.
Sitting bottom of the Championship, the 42-year-old will be expected to turn things around quickly and the tide could start to turn with a defeat at Hillsborough tomorrow night. Speaking to ITV, via Teesside Live, at the weekend, the former Manchester United and England midfielder was asked if his Middlesbrough squad are in crisis, where he responded;
“No, no way. I know what this group is capable of and I see what they do every day in training. I can see how they’re performing and I don’t doubt them one bit.
“Listen, it’s a tough time right now, there’s no getting away from that. There are ways in which we can help ourselves a bit better. But no chance, it’s not a crisis.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Middlesbrough this weekend, where they are set to host Southampton on Saturday. However, the Saints have conceded nine goals in their last two outings and are looking to bounce back themselves when they take on Ipswich Town at St Mary’s.
This season was always going to be a tough one for Michael Carrick. He performed wonders last season, but a squad overhaul was always pencilled in for the summer following the number of loan signings they had at their disposal.
Middlesbrough need time to settle down, but they need to get something out of their trip to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow before fans really start to lose patience. Carrick perhaps has credit in the back, but there’s only so far that can take him.