Michael Carrick admitted that his Middlesbrough side finally struggled to find a spark to find their usual attacking quality when they lost at West Brom.
An early brace from Daryl Dike doomed them to a first defeat in six games as they lost ground to Sheffield United in the race for automatic promotion. The loss was only the fifth for Boro in all competitions since Carrick took over in October, and it was only the second time they have failed to score in a game.
Having conceded both goals in the first ten minutes, they finally gave a West Brom side that had conceded just one set-piece goal in their last seven games at the Hawthorns something to protect. The Baggies did exactly that, as Boro struggled all the time to find his usual attacking rhythm.
READ MORE: Michael Carrick’s frustration as ‘two soft goals’ cost Middlesbrough in West Brom defeat
Carrick reflected afterwards: “We just couldn’t break them. They defended well but we couldn’t find much spark in the last third either. It’s never an exact science in a football game. Obviously there is an opposition that is trying to stop you, while we try to click.
“We’re normally very good with our connections and creating chances, but this was just one of those games where they didn’t miss for us. They defended really well and we couldn’t find that spark, but even then we still created a couple of decent chances. Still I figured we scored even though it didn’t quite happen.
“This is football sometimes. Sometimes it works for you and when you’re playing well you win it, other times you fall and you’re a bit lucky, whereas today was one of those days where you just didn’t. It’s quite happen. We didn’t have that spark as a team today and we didn’t have the right quality and we didn’t find the right moments at the right times to break them.”
While it didn’t happen for Boro at Hawthorns, they’ll be looking to get back on track quickly next weekend when they host Reading at Riverside.