Leeds United v Middlesbrough: Michael Carrick on why Elland Road fixture won't 'make or break' season for Boro

MICHAEL CARRICK’S dismissal of suggestions that Middlesbrough’s appointment at Leeds United is a ‘yardstick’ fixture is not a diversionary tactic.

There's more to his answer than meets the eye.

The prowess of Leeds, in outstanding form, particularly on home soil, speaks for itself.

But given that Boro face second-placed Ipswich Town and another side with top-six designs in Hull City after their trip to Elland Road and tackle West Brom just before Christmas, Carrick is probably mindful that he is better placed to gauge where his side are at after four games and not one.

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
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Carrick said: “I wouldn't really use it (Leeds) as a measure. It’s just another game for us.

“It’s one of the tougher games on paper that you’ll face. It doesn’t always mean that much, but going into the game, we are well aware of what the possible challenges ahead.

“It’s not going to make or break our season in terms of telling us 'are we good enough or are we not good enough'. It’s a great game for us to go there and try and win, for sure.”

Carrick's era at Manchester United came at a time when differences in league status ensured that their Roses rivalry with Leeds was largely kept on hold.

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It ensured that he sampled that atmosphere just once on the pitch in a League Cup tie at Elland Road in September 2011.

He was an unused substitute in Leeds' feted FA Cup win at Old Trafford a little earlier in January 2010.

Carrick added: “You have to enjoy it. All those atmospheres that are classed as ‘hostile’ or difficult to play in, they’re the best ones.

“They are the ones I enjoyed the most.

“Speaking to the boys, I'll pass that on at the right time. Some people see it as being a bit tough and uncomfortable, but for me, it’s exactly what we want.”

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