Middlesbrough FC boss Michael Carrick expresses 'pride' and gives credit to a 'good' Stoke City side

MIDDLESBROUGH boss Michael Carrick refused to be too downhearted after his side missed a chance to move within a point of second-placed Sheffield United after being pegged back in a 1-1 home draw with Stoke.

The mid-table Potters became the first side to take something away from the Riverside since November 5 with Carrick's side on a seven-match winning streak in front of their own supporters on home soil in the Championship, heading into the game.

Boro took the lead in the 23rd minute with a 14th goal in ten home games from second-tier top-scorer Chuba Akpom, who had earlier hit the bar and missed a golden early chance.

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It was the club's 1,000th goal since moving to the Riverside in 1995.

Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

But Stoke - who had won 5-1 at Sunderland in their previous away game and were on a strong run of recent form - deservedly levelled just before the break from Ki-Jana Hoever and were the dominant side in the second half.

Boro were second best and there were angst among home followers with a combination of wasteful finishing and the keeping of Zach Steffen stopping them from taking three points.

The impressive Will Smallbone missed three opportunities, while ex-Barnsley forward Jacob Brown spurned a glorious chance in the final quarter.

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Carrick, whose side welcome Preston on Saturday, said: "I am really proud of the lads. They stuck in. Credit to Stoke, they are a good team and we knew that. They are on a good run and they have had some really good results recently.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was probably the first time we have had that type of game since I have been here at home.

"We haven't quite found that way. Even in the Bristol game when we drew, we kind of played some really good football and created some really good chances.

"It is probably the first time we have had that. It probably showed how well the lads have done - to put themselves in the position that they have done. In some ways there's a touch of frustration, but I am not really that frustrated.

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"I am proud of the lads efforts, it was one of those days where we played against a good team and did not quite have that spark or quality at the end, which is football."

Sheffield United visit Sunderland on Wednesday night.