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Michael Carrick calls on Middlesbrough to make most of cup opportunity

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Dec 2023

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Boss Michael Carrick has urged Middlesbrough to seize their chance after reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Jonny Howson, Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks eased them into the last four with a 3-0 win at Port Vale.

The Championship side reached a major domestic semi-final for the first time in 17 years, since losing to West Ham in the last four of the FA Cup in 2006.

An injury-hit Boro made light work of their League One hosts to avoid an upset and are the only EFL team left in the last four.

Carrick said: “Sometimes in your career there are times and you have to make the most of the opportunity when it comes your way.

“When the door opens you have to run through it and the boys certainly sprinted through it.

“We’re not stupid. We know whoever’s left in the draw probably wants to play us and see it as a chance to get to Wembley.

“It’s a hell of an opportunity. It’s about us and what we can achieve. You’re in a semi-final and it’s motivation and inspiration itself.

“It was a fantastic attitude and mentality. We’re decimated in terms of numbers in the squad but it’s part of the journey and we’re enjoying it.

“We’re in the semi-final and who would have thought it, it’s a great thing to look forward to. Who knows what will happen next, we’ll see who we get.”

Howson opened the scoring after 11 minutes when his 25-yard strike clipped Jason Lowe and looped in over Connor Ripley.

Vale, who demonstrated plenty of endeavour, tried to recover but fell further behind after 23 minutes when Sam Silvera crossed for Rogers to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Gavin Massey lifted Vale’s best chance over from close range and Crooks wrapped up the victory eight minutes into the second half, bullying his way through and finding the bottom corner.

The hosts lost Oliver Arblaster to a serious leg injury and boss Andy Crosby admitted they were second best.

He said: “We are trying to play in a way in our own league, with control and counter pressing but as soon as there was space on the transition you could see the difference between the players.

“They executed the finishes well, maybe got a bit of luck with the first which took a deflection over Connor but they deserved to win the game and hopefully they can progress in the semi-final.

“Ollie has a really bad gash around his knee, it’s gone right through to the bone and he’s gone to hospital. He has been so good for us and he’s our number one concern.”

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