STEVE McClaren hopes that trophies are like buses - you wait 128 years for one and then two come along in successive seasons.

Last year's Carling Cup success finally ended Middlesbrough's marathon barren run but, after tasting glory once, the Boro boss is not about to start resting on his laurels.

His determination to take another step forward this season is evident in the five internationals he has brought to the Riverside this summer.

Michael Reiziger, Mark Viduka, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ray Parlour and Bolo Zenden are no strangers to success, and their new boss is confident they can enjoy more glory with Middlesbrough.

"I want us to build on what we did last year and establish ourselves as a team that are challenging for honours," said McClaren, who has spent much of the run-up to the new campaign fending off speculation linking him to the England manager's job.

"I think there's high expectation from everybody now - not just from the fans and the media. There's certainly a high expectation from the players that have come in, the players that were already here, and the staff.

"It's a good squad on paper, but it has to prove things and it has to work hard.

"My main aim throughout the last three years was to bring quality players to this football club.

"I think to go to the next level, you need to do that. Organisation and hard work are just the fundamentals and the basics - to win things and go on and succeed you need talent and ability allied to the fundamentals.

"That's what we've been trying to build and I think I've put together one of the strongest squads since I've been here.

"It's full of internationals, full of quality, and full of experience. Full of people who have won before and, most importantly, full of people who want to win again."

No Boro fan will forget the scenes that followed February's Carling Cup win in the Millennium Stadium, and more history will be made when the Teessiders embark on their maiden European campaign next month.

But, much as McClaren was thrilled to open his trophy account as a manager in Cardiff, he is determined to make his mark on the Premiership table in the next nine months.

Middlesbrough finished in 11th place last term and, regardless of what happens in the cups, McClaren insists this season will have been a failure if they do not improve on that finish.

"Every team who is in the Premiership wants to do well in the league," he said.

"Because that's their bread and butter. It's how well you do in the league that is an indicator of how well you're doing as a football club.

"We want to get better this year. It was exciting to win a cup last year and we want to be challenging again.

"We want occasions like we had last year at Cardiff, but the bread and butter is the league. Pitching yourself against other teams over the course of 38 games is what excites managers, coaches and players.

"You're searching for that consistency week in, week out - not just against the big teams, but also against the smaller sides."

Last season's Carling Cup win was accompanied by success in the FA Youth Cup but, with five new players having arrived on Teesside this summer, the club's youngsters could face another frustrating 12 months as they look to break into the first-team.

Stewart Downing had to go on loan to Sunderland to play his football last term, while the likes of Matthew Bates and James Morrison were overlooked despite injuries decimating McClaren's plans in the latter stages of the campaign.

The Boro boss admits that it will be tough for any of Boro's young stars to hold down a place in the starting XI, but is adamant that the door to the first team remains open.

"Life's always tough in a football squad," he said. "And so it should be. The better squad you've got, the better it is.

"Competition is what we wanted because we didn't really have that last season. Hopefully we're going to be playing 55 or 60 games if we do well in all the cups and all the players know it's an impossibility to play in all of them.

"That's why you need a squad, and all of the young players that have come through over the last few years will get the opportunity to compete for a place again."

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