AFTER guiding Middlesbrough to seven wins in their last eight, Tony Mowbray was named the Championship's October Manager of the Month yesterday, but he insists it wouldn't have been possible without the team behind him.
Mowbray takes his high-flying side to face Cardiff City this afternoon and they are unbeaten in eight home games this season.
The trip, however, holds no fears for Mowbray and his men, who are confident of getting a result in South Wales having won on their last two visits to the Cardiff City Stadium.
Mowbray was rewarded for guiding the Teessiders to within a point of the Championship summit yesterday when he beat Millwall's Kenny Jacket and Nottingham Forest's Sean O'Driscoll to the Manager of the Month award.
However, rather than lap up the personal plaudit coming his way, Mowbray prefers to think of the award as a reflection of the work going on throughout the club.
"No manager wins any football matches on their own. It's a reflection of the whole football club and not just my coaching staff," said Mowbray, who hopes to have Josh McEachran, Marvin Emnes and Jonathan Woodgate fit today.
"Avril, who cleans our desks and empties our bins, Darky who folds our kits and washes it every single day. Everything works when people do their jobs.
"If those people don't do their jobs players moan and then I argue with one or two of them and there becomes a bit of disenchantment and the spirit isn't quite as good. You can create a feel-good factor by having good people right from the bottom to the top.
"It's a reflection that something right is happening in a club at that given time. A manager doesn't win matches, I help pick the team with my staff, I help organise game plans and I put it across, but it's a huge team effort every week."
Having guided West Brom to promotion in 2008, Mowbray understands exactly what is needed to achieve promotion to the Premier League and the Boro boss hopes to draw on his experiences as he looks to repeat that success with the Teessiders.
He said: "Let's hope it helps. You also have to draw on the experiences you have had. I would like to think most of the hard work was done this summer and you only get success with good, hard-working honest people.
"You need talented footballers of course who respect their team-mates and work hard and my job is to keep it ticking along. When I see a problem I need to put the fire out quickly and deal with it.
"I have to make sure there are no favourites here. There has to be consistency in everything you do, whether that is with discipline or whatever, so they can see you are fair about how you manage. Then they all know if they get left out, or brought off, it is not because I don't like them but because you do anything you can to win the next match.
"Players can take it on the chin then and realise all I am doing is for the benefit of the team.
"There is no secret formula really. That was the same at Albion. It was the same wherever I have been. I have not changed at all, in all my time in management.
"A football manager is not made in a factory, it is a person who lives his life by a certain set of rules and standards and takes it to his workplace every day. What I did at West Brom is exactly what I do here every day and exactly what I did at Celtic and Hibs and I will draw on my past experiences."
When he was in charge at the Hawthorns, Mowbray was responsible for bringing Chris Brunt, Graeme Dorrans and James Morrisson to the club and they are all still part of the side sitting fifth in the Premier League now.
Like then, Mowbray has tried to assemble a squad he deems capable of getting the club promoted and hopes they can emulate the success of his West Brom side.
"I had a lot of good goalscorers at West Brom that season like Phillips, Gera and Miller - we didn't have to necessarily play well every week as we had people who could score while Morrison and Brunt could put it in the box.
"I think we have got players here who can score goals, players who can create goals and so we have to keep going."