Michael Carrick confident Middlesbrough can prevail in Championship play-off semi-final
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick believes his side and Coventry will go into the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final with a 'clean slate' after they played out a 0-0 draw at the CBS Arena. The two teams largely cancelled each other out on a warm afternoon, with the Sky Blues unable to make home advantage count as they failed to register a shot on target. The result will make Boro favourites on Wednesday to reach the final at Wembley, having only lost once in the league at the Riverside Stadium since Carrick's appointment in October. Carrick said: "We tried to come here and win the game, of course we did, but in the back of our minds we know it's one big game. "It's two legs but it's effectively one big game, so you can get caught chasing in a one-off game today [because] at the moment you forget what's next, but I thought we managed that pretty well. "It's a clean slate for both teams, really, and we look forward to the next one.
"We know we've got good players at the top end of the pitch who are capable of scoring. "Coventry defend very well and get good numbers behind the ball and close the space down very well, and they have done over two games now. "It's not going to be easy, of course it's not, but at the same time we've got to have belief and trust and faith." The best chance of the game came Middlesbrough's way after 13 minutes when Chuba Akpom's dink was deflected onto the bar by Coventry goalkeeper Ben Wilson. Isaiah Jones, who had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, was also denied by Wilson in the first half before stalemate ensued after the break.
Coventry boss Mark Robins said: "It was tight, there was very little action between the goalkeepers in both penalty areas. "Chuba Akpom probably had the best two chances of the game, one saved by Ben that loops onto the crossbar, the other wide just after half-time. "We turned over the ball too often in the first half, but we spoke to them at half-time just to try and get ourselves a foothold and play a part with the ball because we didn't do enough of that in the first half. "In the second half we came into the game, we did better, we had a 15- to 20-minute period where we pinned them in a little bit, they dropped, and it was interesting to see. "We'll play them for the third time in just over a week on Wednesday, but we're in it and that's the big thing."
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