View from the Other Side: Middlesbrough on Lady Luck and wise summer spending

Michael Mongie spoke to Daniel Gray, a Boro fan about the game at Anfield, going back down to the Championship and wise summer spending.

The final game of the season has arrived in what has seemed like a blur of goals and the action-packed football we’ve come to expect from the Premier League. 37 games have passed and yet it seems like just last week that Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 on the opening day of the season.

And yet, there have been times that this season has dragged and stalled. The mediocrity of January and February seemed almost to slow down time.

Despite the issues with squad depth and injuries that Jürgen Klopp has faced this season, there is no denying that the German has done a good job with what has had at his disposal. His rivals all spent millions on new recruits and with the exception of Chelsea, none has really impressed.

Manchester United spent over £100 million last summer is sixth in the table. Arsenal spent over £30 million on each of Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi and occupy fifth place. Liverpool, with their negative net spend, is fourth and the most likely to achieve Champions League qualification.

Liverpool’s final and most important game of the season is against Middlesbrough at Anfield and to preview it, Michael Mongie has posed several questions to Daniel Gray – a Boro fan.

Raphinha, Coutinho and Tielemans: The signings Liverpool could make this summer

Middlesbrough have had a truly heartbreaking season, having only won five games all campaign so far, would you say this reflects realistically on how you’ve played?

I’m afraid so. There’s no hard luck story or injustice to it. We set out too defensively and didn’t change until it was too late. It has been extremely depressing to watch. All we ever ask is that our teams have a go and this team didn’t.

With Boro making a few exciting signings at the beginning of this season, with the likes of Victor Valdes, Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez coming in, how do you feel they have performed for you?

Ramirez has been a huge disappointment, his attitude very poor indeed. He should have been our spark and indeed started well, but has clearly wanted to leave since Christmas. Valdes, after a shaky start, has been a class act and deserves a move that will keep him in the top flight. Negredo has worked very hard and shown a lot of guile but has been far too isolated. There is little more depressing than one up front, every week.

From a Middlesbrough’s point of view, what do you think of Liverpool’s unpredictable season?

I always think they look exciting to watch, and you can’t ask for much more than that in a very dull, over-rated, defensive Premier League.

What do you expect to see on Sunday?

A heavy defeat. If Liverpool starts with pace and urgency they will annihilate Boro.

With Middlesbrough being relegated, how do you see your chances in the very competitive Championship?

Good. There’s a strong core of a Championship side. I’m not massively depressed about going down as the Championship is a lot more likeable than the Premier League.

What would you say was Boro’s downfall for this season?

The addiction to being defensive. It has been a drab, drab type of football to have to watch. Football should be about joy and making people smile. We need to get that back into our play.

Thank you to Daniel Gray for his willingness to do this Q&A and good luck to Boro in the Championship next season! Check out Dan’s latest book Saturday, 3pm: 50 Eternal Delights of Football.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know