Middlesbrough FC v Preston North End: 'Brutal' and 'fantastic': Michael Carrick opens up on Championship life
In the same breath, Michael Carrick’s side have failed to win any of their six matches thus far against the division’s current bottom seven in a curate’s egg of a campaign.
It explains why, ahead of a run of tough fixtures on paper, that Carrick is not reading too much into that amid a capricious Championship whose main consistent facet is its inconsistency.
Carrick, whose side face Preston and Leeds United this week - said: “It’s a brutal league, (but) it’s a fantastic and challenging league and consistency is key. If you can be consistent, it gives you a great chance.
"It’s not easy to get through games and game to game as well. For whatever reason on any given day, anyone can beat anybody.
"That’s the beauty of it and there is no easy and straightforward game. Every game is a test - a physical and mental test.
"Why it is like that, I’m not sure. It’s been like that for a lot longer than I have been involved in it. You have got to enjoy it and embrace the challenge.”
The Riverside will pause to remember the late, great Terry Venables this evening, with the former England manager, affectionately nicknamed ‘Teesside Tel’ during his short spell at the club at the start of the noughties, remembered with fondness by Boro followers.
On Venables, who saved the club from Premier League relegation in 2000-01, Carrick said: “It’s sad day for us when someone connected with the club passes away.
“For football in general, really. I remember watching Euro 96 as a fan and a kid. It was an incredible time to be a young boy watching England and he was a massive part of that.
"It was a stand-out time for me and the tournament was special and it was a special team with Terry."