Michael Carrick's optimistic outlook on Middlesbrough's future with 'a lot to build on'

Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick celebrates their  2-1 win over Leicester City
Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick celebrates their 2-1 win over Leicester City -Credit:Lindsey Parnaby/REX/Shutterstock

Michael Carrick has delivered an optimistic outlook for the future at Middlesbrough, believing the club have a lot of positives to build on from this season.

Boro now can't achieve their goal of making the top-six this season after a challenging campaign that saw injuries wreak havoc throughout their squad. But they are ending the season in strong form, with only one defeat in their last 11 games ahead of the season conclusion at home to Watford on Saturday.

The recent form is offering many reasons for optimism next season among supporters, with many individuals showing their growth over the course of the season, while as a group, the value of time to gel is clear to see. Indeed, as the Boro boss now begins to plot the club's summer squad improvements, he too sees plenty to be encouraged about.

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“Ideally, we hope we can finish well and take that into next season," Carrick said. "I’ve spoken a lot about the ups and downs we’ve had through the season to be six points or so off the play-offs isn’t bad. It’s not enough and we wanted more. But at the same point, it shows we’ve actually come a long way with this group given the amount of changes that we made with players coming in last summer and doing well.

"There’s a lot to build on for sure, and take into next season. Mentality is massive. It overrides talent. If you're in a good head space, confident and you feel good about yourself, it's a lot more powerful than having a bit of talent. It's encouraging, definitely.

"The ups and downs and challenges we've had this season, to come through them in a certain way, certainly the players and the experience, when you're going through a tough spell you find out where everyone is at. We've found out we're all there and looking after each other.

"We wouldn't have ever ended up having the season we've had in terms of the cup run and finishing where we finished if we didn't show that. As much as anything, that's encouraging. Hopefully there is excitement for the start of the season and what we're capable of doing.

"We've shown it against what you'd argue to be the better teams in the league who are ahead of us. We know we can produce performances, we just have to be consistent with it."

Boro host Watford at the Riverside on Saturday in the final game of the season but work is already well under way in planning for the summer transfer window. Not expected to be quite as busy as last summer when Boro signed 12 players, instead, the onus will be on adding to the foundations put in place this season and adding quality to the group to strengthen identified areas that they hope will lead to improvements next season and the capabilities to challenge for promotion back to the Premier League.