'Something has got to change' admits exasperated Middlesbrough FC boss Michael Carrick after latest Championship play-off blow

WHAT a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago, Middlesbrough beat second-placed Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane in a statement of intent and were beginning to get talked up as automatic candidates, harnessed by the goal thrust of Chuba Akpom and Cameron Archer.

In the event, Boro had to settle for the play-offs. At the mid-February point of the current season, reaching the top six appears a pipe dream.

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The Teessiders are starting to get marooned in mid-table with their recent angst compounded by Wednesday night’s painful 2-1 loss at Preston.

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Getty Images.Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Getty Images.
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick. Picture: Getty Images.

Boro’s predilection for dominating games in open play, but lack ruthlessness in the final third and shoot themselves in the foot in a defensive sense resurfaced again to extend their winless sequence to four matches.

Usually calm in his press utterances, Michael Carrick’s frustration was there for all to see for once.

Should Boro fail to find answers soon, then the season will peter out with the club’s inability to address their paucity of strikers in the winter window starting to get particularly exposed by the game.

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Carrick, afforded no favours by way of a weekend trip to runaway leaders Leicester City, said: “I seem to be going around in circles saying similar things about the results we have ended up getting (recently).

"There were a lot of good things and opportunities and we could and should have scored more.

"We feel like we should have won the game, but we are not winning games. So something has got to change and we have got to do something about that.

"We are having a bit of a struggle at the moment to try and get results. You have got to stop the ball going in one net and score at the other end and we need to get that balance better than we’ve got at the moment.”