Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick says Monday’s fixture against Coventry City was nothing but a dress rehearsal for the playoff games between the two teams.
The Manchester United legend claims he didn’t really learn anything new from the match that ended 1-1 and he has warned players and fans that the intensity level will go up a number of notches when they take on their opponents again this weekend:
“We’ll look at today’s game and learn what we can from it but there’s no hiding from the fact that next week’s game is a different ball game.”
Boro will travel to the Coventry Building Society Arena for the first game on Sunday before hosting the return fixture at the Riverside Stadium a few days later.
While the playoff tie cannot be won in the first leg, getting a good result on the road will put the Teessiders in a great position. A win or even a draw should give Carrick’s team an important advantage for the second match on Wednesday week. As the manager points out, though, both games will be a lot more competitive than the draw they played out on the final day.