Football

Karanka's half-time pep talk works wonders

Aitor Karanka delivered a half-time rocket to inspire 10-man Middlesbrough to an FA Cup third-round victory over Sheffield Wednesday yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The sides went in 0-0 at the break with neither goalkeeper having made a save and Spaniard Karanka left his EPL players in little doubt as to what was expected against Championship opponents after it.

Speaking after a 3-0 win during which defender Daniel Ayala was sent off, Karanka said: "The second half was completely different.

"I told them at half-time that I thought we were playing a friendly game and, for me, the FA Cup is not a friendly game, it's a really important game.

"Sometimes it's difficult when you go on to the pitch against a team in a lower division to get the right mentality and, in the second half, we went on to the pitch with the right attitude, the right mentality and even when we lost Dani, we were really consistent.

"Everybody was committed, everybody was fighting for every single ball and that's the main thing for me."

Asked if he was angry as he welcomed his players back into the dressing room at half-time, Karanka added: "Yes, because the image that we were showing wasn't the right image.

"They came here knowing that they are in the Championship and they wanted to show everybody that they can compete against us.

"Now in every single football match, if you don't give 100 per cent, you will have problems."

Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal was understandably disappointed with the result, but far from critical of his players.

Carvalhal said: "We played our game, we moved the ball, we controlled the game. I am happy with my players and the way we played against a Premier League team.

"We must give congratulations to Middlesbrough, but I am not unhappy. During the 90 minutes, we were not worse than Middlesbrough in this game." - PA SPORT

FA CupMiddlesbroughSHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY