Fol­low the highs and lows of the Boro ev­ery day

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - FRONT PAGE -

A DE­LIGHTED and re­lieved Ai­tor Karanka wants Mid­dles­brough to “win the cup and to be in the Premier League next season”.

The Boro boss’s team won a five-goal FA Cup thriller against League One Ox­ford United at the River­side to earn a home quar­ter-fi­nal tie with Hud­der­s­field or Manch­ester City.

Vic­tory means Boro’s TeesWear derby with Sun­der­land, due to take place on March 11, will be resched­uled. Karanka, who said his team’s at­ti­tude against Ox­ford was far bet­ter than in the pre­vi­ous round against Ac­cring­ton, isn’t wor­ried about hav­ing to ne­go­ti­ate an­other tough fix­ture though. “I am re­ally pleased. “I wanted to win the game, I want to be in the semi-fi­nal, I want to be in the fi­nal and I want to win the cup and I want to be in the Premier League next season,” he stated.

On the game, he added: “I am re­ally pleased be­cause I had said be­fore the game Ox­ford were a re­ally good team, they beat New­cas­tle in the last round and I said we had to be re­ally care­ful.”

Karanka in­sists his play­ers have to learn the lessons of Satur­day’s game.

“Some­times it is dif­fi­cult to keep your con­cen­tra­tion, es­pe­cially when you are play­ing a League One team and lead­ing 2-0, but we have to learn,” he pointed out.

“We con­ceded two goals and we are in the next round but it is a good les­son for us for the fu­ture.”

Hud­der­s­field and Manch­ester City will meet in a re­play at the Eti­had af­ter draw­ing 0-0 on Satur­day at the John Smith’s Sta­dium.

The win­ners will travel to the River­side on sixth round week- end and Karanka wants ev­ery­one con­nected with the club to savour the run, even if it means an ex­tra game or two.

“The most im­por­tant thing was to win the game, to be in the draw and to re­alise that three years ago I don’t think any­body could think that Mid­dles­brough could be in the Premier League and play in the quar­ter-fi­nal of the FA Cup.

“So we have to be re­ally pleased, we have to know that we must keep go­ing to­gether and we have to try to keep the mo­men­tum.”

Karanka con­firmed Ge­orge Friend had not fea­tured in the squad be­cause he picked up a knock in train­ing.

“He was ready to play but in the train­ing ses­sion he felt some­thing and Ge­orge is the kind of player who needs to be 100%,” he ex­plained.

“He wanted to play but I didn’t want to take that risk.”

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