Latte Lath's first season at Middlesbrough and what we can learn ahead of new summer arrivals

Emmanuel Latte Lath of Middlesbrough
-Credit: (Image: James Heaton/News Images)


In a summer that will inevitably see new arrivals at Middlesbrough, there may be no better example of the importance of patience than Emmanuel Latte Lath.

A first season at Boro brought ups and downs for the Ivorian striker, but he eventually ended the campaign with 18 goals in his maiden year at the Riverside, thanks to a run of 11 goals in 12 games. But it wasn't always plain sailing and free-scoring for the 25-year-old in Boro shirt.

Signed from Atalanta after the start of the season, he went straight into the team and though he scored in his second game at West Brom, he struggled for early form, missing some big chances before ultimately losing his place. A couple of frustrating injuries as the season went on affected his impact too, but after returning from his last injury at the end of February, he went on his incredible run which helped Boro lose only one of their final 12 games.

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That's built optimism for next season, with a summer recruitment drive now aimed at complementing the current squad to help Michael Carrick guide Boro back to the Premier League. New signings will be arriving, but Latte Lath's first season at Boro highlights the importance of being patient and not always expecting too much too soon from them.

Carrick made that exact point, saying: “Manu has had a fantastic season in many ways - from the way he’s adapted and settled in to become loved by everyone here because of how infectious he is, to the quality he’s shown on the pitch. He scored a lot of goals and the way he’s scored them - left foot, right foot, headers - he’s a real threat in the box, he’s a threat running in behind from deeper and he’s had a real impact for us, there is no getting away from that.

“I think with Manu, we’ve seen the benefit of having a good run in the team and getting used to the players in and around you. It’s not chopping and changing every week so the boys can develop that understanding and know each other’s strengths, how, when and where you like to receive the ball etc.

"It’s simple things at times, but that extra bit of connection and understanding that you build over time can be the difference. For Manu, in terms of the positions he’s been taking up, the variety of goals he’s shown he can score and being able to get into a rhythm from being on the pitch regularly, I think he’s definitely felt the benefit as the season has gone on."