MICHAEL Carrick says smart recruitment and good coaching can see Middlesbrough go toe-to-toe with their Championship rivals who will have the benefit of Premier League parachute payments next season.

Clubs relegated from the Premier League have a huge leg-up thanks to the solidarity payment and this season provided evidence - not that any was needed - of the impact of that financial support, with the three teams coming down finishing in the top four of the Championship.

One of the clubs receiving payments this season will again be in the Championship next term, with Leeds taking on Southampton in next week's play-off final, while Boro will be up against recent rivals Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton next season. Relegation from the Premier League has been confirmed for the the Clarets and Blades and will be for the Hatters today.

Despite only spending a year in the top flight, those three clubs will have a financial advantage next season. But spending power alone doesn't guarantee success in the second tier and Carrick says his side can compete.

“We have to believe that. It’s what we’re here for," he said.

"We want to win and we want to get out of the league. Money is money, but it certainly not everything. Money can’t buy happiness and it can’t always buy you out of a football league, as has been proven countless times.

"Yeah, we’ve got to be realistic and I understand where we are in terms of that. But it doesn’t mean we can’t do it. We certainly believe we can, and we certainly believe it’s possible. You’ve got to do a lot of good work in so many different ways to make that a reality, but without doubt, it’s something we’re striving for."


Boro finished the season well, only missing out on the top six by four points, and move into the summer in a position of strength. They'll add to their squad in the months ahead, while a new deal for head coach Carrick will also be finalised.

Boro went close to winning automatic promotion two seasons ago when only one of the three relegated clubs - Burnley - finished in the top six, while Ipswich - newcomers to the Championship this season after their promotion from League One - beat Leeds and Southampton to the second automatic promotion place despite the financial disparity.

Carrick said: “It’s proven pretty much every year. Some teams will over-perform and some will over-perform and punch above their weight financially. That’s just natural.

"We know what we’re competing against, but at the same point, if we get our work right - whether that’s recruitment, whether that’s coaching, whether that’s just creating a right environment and looking after players a certain way - we feel that we can be successful."