MICHAEL Carrick praised his Middlesbrough coaching team for their role in coming up with the game plan that worked a treat in Saturday's impressive victory over Championship leaders Leicester City.

Boro made some tactical tweaks for the visit of the Foxes and had to adapt to chasing the ball rather than dominating possession as they do most weeks.

Carrick also tasked two of his players with man-marking jobs, with Dael Fry shadowing Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Howson following Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's every step.

Boro frustrated Leicester and then grabbed all three points thanks to Sam Greenwood's stunning late free-kick.

Carrick applauded his players for their willingness to embrace and execute a different approach for the game, but when it was put to the boss that he too deserved a pat on the back for coming up with the game plan that beat the league leaders, he instead pointed the direction elsewhere, which is par for the course with Boro's humble head coach.

“I’ll credit the coaches for that," he said, praising Aaron Danks, Jonathan Woodgate and Grant Leadbitter.

"We knew we needed to tweak things and do things a little differently because it’s not something that we come up against every week. Sometimes both of the centre-halves (Fry and Paddy McNair) were in front of Jonny, because Jonny was looking after Dewsbury-Hall. The balance of that, and how the three of them managed that space was so impressive and they did so well.

"It’s slightly different from what we’re used to doing, but it comes from everyone - the whole team had their jobs to do. The front lads had to close certain spaces so that the boys behind them don’t have to cover certain spaces, and then that has a knock-on effect right throughout the pitch.

"I thought everyone really nailed the details and that’s why I’m so proud. We had a really good week of training, with the coaching staff, we felt we had a really solid plan in place, and then the players went out there and pulled it off. It was really good."


Saturday's win lifted Boro to just two points off the play-off places going into the international break, with Carrick's side having lost just one of their last 12 games in all competitions. As well as getting their Championship campaign back on track after a nightmare start, Boro also have a Carabao Cup quarter final against Port Vale to look forward to.

Carrick said: “The boys have been fantastic. Everything we’ve ever asked them since I’ve been here they’ve always given everything and that’s all we can ask of them.

"If things didn’t work for us (against Leicester) then so be it, but I always knew it wouldn’t be for the want of trying. The application and buy in from the boys, I’m delighted for them. 

"They put so much effort in and the concentration more than the physical effort took a lot. You have to be so dialled in in those high-level games and this certainly was that, so I’m so pleased they got what they deserved."