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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray full of praise for Carlisle Utd

Greg Abbott insisted his Carlisle United side is still not the finished article despite an eye-catching performance against Middlesbrough.

Tony Mowbray photo
Tony Mowbray

The Blues went down 2-1 to Tony Mowbray’s Championship title hopefuls in last night’s showpiece friendly at Brunton Park.

It was United’s best performance of pre-season against a strong Middlesbrough team, and it comes with the new campaign due to kick off next Saturday at home to Accrington Stanley in the Capital One Cup.

And Mowbray was full of praise for United after seeing his side having to battle to get past their League One opponents.

Curtis Main fired Boro ahead on 29 minutes, before Lee Miller equalised against his old club but Cameron Park hit the visitors’ 64th minute winner.

The Boro boss said: “As we found last year, Carlisle can be a really good side and play football.

“They gave a really good performance. I was pleased to win because it was a big test for some of our young players.”

Abbott believes there is still even more to come from his squad, which is still not at full strength following injuries to JP McGovern, Rory Loy, Danny Cadamarteri, Frank Simek and Paddy Madden.

He said: “The performance tells us what we needed to know. It tells us we are not quite the finished article but it tells me there are a lot of good things going on and, if we continue that type of work, we could be okay again.

“We are trying to play football the right way and the right way to play is to pass the ball quickly and keep it on the floor and get people in the right areas and be comfortable on the ball.

“But the key to games is winning as well and we need to play winning football.

“I felt at half-time we would be really popular because we look a really nice team on the eye, but I thought the cutting edge and the incisiveness of our passing in first half wasn’t quite there.

“In the second half, even though we conceded a goal, the pace and incisiveness was there and we put the ball into some really good areas.

“Maybe with a bit more luck we wouldn’t have lost the game. Even though it’s only a pre-season friendly, I didn’t want to lose the game. I want the players to get a winning mentality.

“We’ve lost but I think we’ve won a few friends.”

Meanwhile, former Carlisle forward Francois Zoko will be back at Brunton Park next season after signing a two-year deal with rival club Notts County.

The 28-year-old Ivorian, who quit Carlisle at the end of the season saying he wanted to play in the Championship, has had to settle for a return to League One.

Zoko was also linked with Preston and Sheffield United.

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