Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka lamented his side’s first-half performance following yesterday’s exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates.
A brace of goals from Olivier Giroud was enough to see the holders through to the quarter-finals.
But despite coming up against Premier League opposition, the Boro boss – when asked about whether he was disappointed with his side’s showing – was frank in his assessment.
“Yes, especially in the first half,” he said. “It is very difficult to beat Arsenal, the first half was not good.”
Boro won 2-0 at Manchester City in the previous round, but there were stark contrasts between that performance and this according to Karanka.
“All the 50/50s went for them; against Manchester City we won them and we were more organised,” he added. “We showed too much respect.”
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was delighted to avoid another giant-killing and hailed his side for their professional approach.
“It’s difficult for everybody in the Premier League,” he said. “It requires focus and good pace and I think we controlled the game.
“We started well and played with pace and that gave them problems.”
He added: “Our fluency was great, our movement was good, our technical control was very good today.
“We lost a little fraction of urgency at 2-0 but we remained serious for the whole game.”
Match report: Page 2.