TONY Mowbray was as dejected as his crestfallen players after Middlesbrough’s mammoth effort to go toe-to-toe with Sunderland ultimately ended in failure, writes CHRIS YOUNG.
Boro proved more than a match for the Black Cats in both of their FA Cup fourth round meetings, particularly in last night’s replay as the hosts named a makeshift side without the services of injured trio Barry Robson, Scott McDonald and Faris Haroun.
But Stephane Sessegnon’s extra-time winner left the Boro players on their knees at the final whistle, with effort and application little comfort for boss Mowbray as the Teessiders maintained their return of just one victory in 2012.
Mowbray said: “The over-riding emotion is disappointment of course. “When you go to extra-time, you have to come out winning the football match, not having any consolation that you might have done okay in the game.
“We didn’t win it and Sunderland found a way to win it.
“The team has got to keep pushing on.
“I don’t think we take any positives and it is a very disappointed dressing room.
“We felt, they felt, we had an opportunity to get through, but we didn’t quite find the way to do it.
“The team has to be mentally tough going again.
“We’ll have them in today then on Friday we travel five hours on a coach to Ipswich and try to reproduce the energy levels and the drive to beat a team that has just beaten West Ham 5-1.
“Then we have Tuesday back here against Nottingham Forest.
“It just keeps coming and we need to find a way to win football matches.”
Perhaps the one consolation for Mowbray was a first Boro goal for £1.3million January signing Lukas Jutkiewicz who punished Michael Turner’s error before smashing the ball beyond Simon Mignolet to level proceedings.
“He seemed to have a long, long time to hit that, it was falling on his right foot as well,” added Mowbray.
“Great credit to him and his concentration levels to hit the target.
“Ultimately, he is here to score goals.
“I am pleased for him that he is off the mark and hopefully that will be the first of many.”
Read more reaction to Sunderland’s FA Cup win, plus Chris Young’s full match report, in today’s Echo.