Michael Carrick says releasing Middlesbrough FC players from self-doubt is his biggest job after 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday

Michael Carrick says he has to release Middlesbrough from the doubt holding them back this season.

The Teessiders are still looking for their first Championship win since April after a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, who remain level on points with them.

Boro looked absolutely bereft of confidence and although a strong start to the second half seemed to imbue them with belief – not to mention a Darragh Lenihan goal – it did not last long.

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"The first half, in some ways I can feel for the players, when things aren't clicking or coming easy for you, it's easy to second guess things," said Carrick. "Maybe an element of doubt creeping in.

PSYCHOLOGIST: Michael Carrick must get the best out of Middlesbrough more oftenPSYCHOLOGIST: Michael Carrick must get the best out of Middlesbrough more often
PSYCHOLOGIST: Michael Carrick must get the best out of Middlesbrough more often

"It's up to us to help release that.

"Going behind kick-started us and gave us that freedom to chase the game down and then we show what we're capable of.

"There are two sides to it, (I'm) really encouraged because we know performances are in there and what we're capable of, but can't keep giving ourselves too much to do.

"It's frustrating but I have to say I'm hugely proud of the players for that second half. It's not an easy place to be that dressing room at half-time, when you're down and you have a run like you have. To come out and face the music and bounce back and show like they did, I'm really proud of them."

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Carrick sprang to the defence of his players, who were booed off at the interval by frustrated away fans.

"You could see them giving the ball away at time which the boys don't do," he said. "It's very different to if they're intentionally trying to do the right things to someone who is not putting the effort in or blatantly not doing what you ask them. That's definitely not the case.

"It was just that little bit of second-guessing, not having confidence or belief where it's clicking and you trust yourself. In the second half we did that, stopped thinking about it and just went and played because we knew we had to chase the game down.

"At half-time I had real confidence in the players to go out there and have a good second half. They responded really well, there was a good feeling in there. They were disappointed with how it went, we all were, but I understood how they were feeling.

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"I was 100 per cent (frustrated not to win), but I have to be realistic. The position we were in first half and building on that, you have to be realistic but I know what we're capable of."

Both sides went into the game with only a point to their name, and Carrick felt it told at times.

"Desperate can be dangerous if you go chasing things and you tense up and you're anxious," he argued. "Maybe the boys were so desperate and over-trying and tensed up in the first half. Second half, we went out and played.

"We're doing everything we can but we're not down, definitely not down, the belief is there 100 per cent.

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"It's a case of how patient can you be really. I'm not stupid. We understand we need results. We are not playing just to develop and get better. I don't think we are far away by any stretch.

"Knowing the club, knowing the work that's going on and knowing the players, it's the only way – to believe in what we are doing."