Repli­cat­ing Shake­speare

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Mid­dles­brough care­taker man­ager Steve Agnew hopes his ap­point­ment will have a sim­i­lar im­pact at the rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened club as that of Craig Shake­speare at Le­ices­ter City.

As­sis­tant man­ager Agnew was handed the reins af­ter Ai­tor Karanka was sacked by Mid­dles­brough on Thurs­day fol­low­ing a 10-game win­less league run that saw the club slide down the ta­ble to 19th, three points from safety.

Since Clau­dio Ranieri’s sack­ing last month, Le­ices­ter have won both their league games to move three points away from the rel­e­ga­tion zone and booked a place in the Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-finals un­der his former as­sis­tant Shake­speare.

“Craig has done a fan­tas­tic job at Le­ices­ter if I can do what he’s do­ing we’ll all be pleased,” Agnew said on Fri­day ahead of their Premier League trip to face Manch­ester United to­day.

“I’m very con­fi­dent. I’ve been coaching a long time and I’m con­fi­dent in what I can do.”

Mid­dles­brough are the league’s low­est scor­ing team with just 19 goals in the 27 games so far and Agnew hinted at a change in ap­proach in the hope re­viv­ing the club’s for­tunes in front of goal.

“I see my­self as be­ing a cre­ative coach, slowly but surely I know I’m ca­pa­ble of drip-feed­ing ideas into the group that will pay div­i­dends,” he said.

“The play­ers train re­ally well ev­ery day, never a prob­lem with at­ti­tude.

“It’s ob­vi­ous to ev­ery­one we need to score a goal, and to win a game.”

Agnew re­jected me­dia re­ports sug­gest­ing that rifts be­tween Karanka and the play­ers led to the Spa­niard’s dis­missal.

“No, not at all,” the 51-year-old said. “The play­ers al­ways trained well. I’d say it’s the best group of play­ers I’ve ever worked with in terms of their ap­pli­ca­tion.” Reuters

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