League comes first for Mowbray

Tony Mowbray admits Middlesbrough's quest for cup glory will mean nothing if they do not win promotion this season.

Last Updated: 11/12/12 at 16:20 Post Comment   

Tony Mowbray: Without promotion, it's a wasted season

Tony Mowbray: Without promotion, it's a wasted season

Tony Mowbray admits Middlesbrough's quest for cup glory will count for nothing if they do not win promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.

The npower Championship side head to top-flight Swansea in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night dreaming of a place in the last four and the chance to repeat their triumph in the competition back in 2004 under Steve McClaren.

However, Mowbray makes no bones about his priorities for the season and, while he is determined to take the club he supported as a boy as far as he can along the road to Wembley, a return to the big time is the major prize in his sights.

He said: "Whilst it's nice to have a run in a cup competition, get the plaudits and potentially get to a semi-final, televised games and heighten the profile of your club, the bottom line come May is, if you don't finish in the top two or the top six, giving yourselves a chance, it's a wasted season.

"For the club, the ambition we have got is to try to get back there as quickly as we can."

To that end, Mowbray will not allow the cup campaign to act as a distraction.

Indeed, his determination not to allow the league campaign to falter - the Teessiders currently sit in third place in the table - means preparations for Saturday's clash with Wolves have dictated their travel arrangements back from South Wales.

He said: "I am not that sentimental. Who were last year's semi-finalists? It doesn't matter. It matters when you stick your name on a trophy, then we could say what we had achieved.

"Our main target is to win league matches. When you are this close in a cup competition, you don't pick weakened teams, you pick your best team or your strongest team available to go and try to win.

"But I am still very, very conscious of the preparation for Saturday, which is why we are staying over rather than getting back at 5am so the players can get a decent night's sleep.

"They can cool down in South Wales and then they can get themselves back and we will prepare on Friday.

"We want to win every game, and yet realistically you can't win every game. But we will try to win the next game in front of us, which is Swansea."

Having dumped derby rivals Sunderland out of the competition at the Stadium of Light in the last round, a trip to the Liberty Stadium - Boro's 12th successive League Cup tie on the road - holds no particular fears.

However, Mowbray is well aware of the quality at opposite number Michael Laudrup's disposal.

He said: "I have to say this Swansea team is a pretty special football team with the ball, they are very, very good.

"To go to the Emirates and win 2-0 and out-pass Arsenal as they did is quite a feat, so we have total respect for what they do.

"I don't know what the betting is, but I can only imagine today, if you are a betting man, I am sure Swansea are pretty odds-on favourites to get through.

"And yet if we were sitting here playing Bradford at home tomorrow night we would be pretty odds-on as well and you could be almost talking past that game to a semi-final.

"But I won't allow the players or my mind to get anywhere near any semi-finals because we have got Swansea City, who have just beaten Arsenal and West Brom, away.

"I have watched them and they have got some good players, so we will need to be at our very, very best to try to progress."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Premier League: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger pleased with display in 3-0 win at Hull

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was pleased with his side's performance as they eased to a 3-0 win over Hull City.

Premier League: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling best young player in Europe says Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Raheem Sterling as the best young player in Europe.

Premier League: Liverpool's Luis Suarez focused on Chelsea match after win over Norwich

Luis Suarez insisted he is not getting carried away with Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property