Millwall v Middlesbrough: No Chelsea talk as Michael Carrick tells players to 'wipe slate clean'

IN his playing days at Manchester United, Michael Carrick learnt the art of moving on from big days, nights and results quickly.

It is an important part in the skillset of modern-day footballers, particularly at huge clubs like the Red Devils. It is also very pertinent in the here and now for players at the club Carrick now manages.

After a Riverside occasion which saw Middlesbrough afforded justifiable plaudits on the national stage following a memorable Carabao Cup semi-final first leg victory over Premier League big guns Chelsea, Boro must quickly turn the page.

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Carrick’s make-up ensured that he had by Wednesday morning, with his sights fixed upon Saturday and Millwall.

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce RollinsonMiddlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Carrick said: "They are in good form and playing well and we know we are going to have to be right at our best.

"After a high on Tuesday, to prepare yourself, go again and regroup is a skill in itself. Not everyone can do it and it’s not always easy.

"Some people get carried away with the emotion and can’t do it, so it’s important we are in the right state of mind as it’s one of those games you have to be ready.

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"We have spoken about that and it’s imperative we wipe the slate clean and start again.”

Boro must make do without Emmanuel Latte Lath and Alex Bangura, fresh additions to their injury count from Tuesday night, but new signings Luke Ayling and Finn Azaz come into the equation, with Lewis O’Brien also available.

Sam Greenwood and Morgan Rogers also return.

They face a Millwall side who are unbeaten in their past five league games, winning the last three, with the Teessiders also seeking to end a disappointing run in the capital, which has seen them fail to win on their last eight visits.

Improving their general consistency in terms of league form is certainly more of a focus for Carrick, whose side still retain top-six hopes.

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Carrick added: "We know what it’s like down there (Millwall) and it’s a tough place, but also a great place to play and I love those atmospheres where there’s a bit of an edge to it.

"It’s noisy and lively and you have to find a way of playing your best football.

"There’s a huge opportunity for us to achieve something, both in the cup and the league.

"Consistency is key and we know what are capable of doing. There's challenges within that with injuries and suspensions, but if we can become consistent, we'll have a real chance."