Michael Carrick says the belief to express themselves is what he enjoys most about his Middlesbrough team.
Boro entertained an ever-growing Riverside crowd on Saturday as they beat Preston North End 4-0 with a thrilling display of attractive, attacking football. And the Boro head coach was asked after if he was as excited about the football his side plays as Boro supporters.
Carrick said: “I enjoy watching the boys play with the courage and belief to take the ball and express themselves. I said that to them before the game. I can’t ask for anything more than for something like the first goal - taking the ball right through the pitch, playing for each other, making angles, progressing through the pitch and showing what they’re capable of.
READ MORE: Michael Carrick's delight with 'all-round' Middlesbrough performance in Preston North End win
"I’m not asking them to do anything extra special, I’m just asking them to believe in what they do and what they’re capable of. So, to see that and in some situations when it’s easier, some situations when it’s a little bit tougher, that’s when you find out the real players and the ones with character.
"The boys have been unbelievable at that - expressing themselves and playing in a certain way. They’re doing that so well, and long may that continue."
Entertaining football, free-flowing attack and plenty of goals have been major positives in Carrick's unbelievable turnaround of Boro's season so far. The four goals against Preston North End took Boro to 69 goals for the season - the most they've scored in a campaign since Bryan Robson's promotion-winning Boro side of 1997-98 scored 77.
There are eight games still to play in the current campaign. And as well as targeting that 77-goals record, they'll also be hoping to catch Sheffield United to finish second and earn automatic promotion back to the Premier League, just like Robson's side 25 years ago.
The match report as Middlesbrough beat Preston North End 4-0 at the Riverside
One 9 and four 8s in the Middlesbrough ratings as attacking football flows in Preston win
Michael Carrick's delight with 'all-round' Middlesbrough performance in Preston North End win
Cameron Archer passed a late fitness test to fire Middlesbrough brace in win against former side
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