LET’S NOT RELAX SAYS BORO BOSS
Liverpool next up for Aitor’s high-flyers
AITOR KARANKA has warned his players not to get complacent after a convincing win over Brentford propelled his Middlesbrough side into the top six.
Grant Leadbitter got the scoring underway in the 35th minute with a superb long-range strike, before Albert Adomah, Patrick Bamford and Kike added goals in the second half.
The Teessiders are now fifth in the table and three points off the top after an impressive three wins in eight days.
Karanka’s side face last season’s Premier League runners-up Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
But the head coach has urged his players to keep their feet on the ground after a fruitful week.
“We sent the fans home happy and that’s the most important thing,” Karanka said.
“That’s three straight wins and we have to keep going. There’s another game on Tuesday and then Saturday (Charlton). We’re always looking ahead.
“We can’t think we’re better than we are. If we do, then we’ll have problems.
“I made a few changes to make sure the players don’t get too complacent. We had some good players waiting to come in.
“It’s about playing with a good squad. All the players are ready to come in.
“Tuesday at Liverpool is a chance to keep the feel-good factor going.
“We go to Liverpool thinking we can play well and play like we’ve done in the last few games.
“Of course they’re a Champions League team, but we’ll go there to fight as much as we can and it’s important our fans can enjoy going there.”
Brentford suffered their second heavy defeat of the week after losing 3-0 to Norwich on Tuesday and Bees boss Mark Warburton admitted his side performed well below par.
“The better team won,” Warburton said. “We’ve set good standards this season but we’ve fallen below them.
“It wasn’t acceptable, especially after the break when we weren’t good enough. It’s not about letting me down, it’s about us as a team.
“We gave the ball away cheaply and that was the key.We didn’t really test their keeper and they broke the deadlock with a wonderful strike.
“We didn’t lack work-rate but we lacked quality on the ball, giving it away in key areas.
“We got into some good positions, but we didn’t hurt Middlesbrough and it was too easy for them.We have to learn.
“We’ve got a good-quality squad and we’ve shown that, but if you fall below those levels you’ll lose as it showed today.
“It wasn’t good enough and the players know that. They need to be a bit nastier.”
Middlesbrough had been on the front foot right up to Leadbitter’s opener ten minutes before the break, with Bamford and Adomah going close in the early stages.
The midfielder collected the ball some 35 yards out and sent a rasping drive soaring past David Button.
There was little sense of a reply from the Bees and the lively Adomah made it 2-0 five minutes after the break when he latched on to Emilio Nsue’s cross after Jelle Vossen had supplied a great ball to the winger.
The goals continued to come for Karanka’s men when Bamford’s glancing header went in from Leadbitter’s cross.
Middlesbrough’s afternoon was soured slightly when they were reduced to ten men. Dean Whitehead was the player sent off in the 83rd minute for a bad foul.
There was still time for the Teessiders to score a fourth.
Spanish striker Kike came on and scored his fourth of the season with a minute left.
ROLL OUT THE BOROUGH: Grant Leadbitter celebrates scoring the opening goal
TAKING THE KIKE: Middlesbrough’s substitute rounds off the scoring for rampant Boro