April 11, 2021, 0:45

Muhamed Besic aiming to emulate Middlesbrough heroes in League Cup

Muhamed Besic aiming to emulate Middlesbrough heroes in League Cup

Muhamed Besic has set his sights on a place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals having been reminded on a daily basis of Middlesbrough’s famous triumph in the competition.

When Boro, captained by now England manager Gareth Southgate, lifted the then Carling Cup at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2004 after a 2-1 victory over Bolton, they claimed the first major trophy in their history.

That feat is commemorated at the club’s Rockliffe Park training headquarters in a series of photographs showing chairman Steve Gibson celebrating and, ahead of Tuesday’s quarter-final against Burton, loan signing Besic needs no further reminder of what a repeat could mean to the Sky Bet Championship club.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international said: “When we have lunch, there are the pictures still of the chairman and how he celebrated, so we see it every day.

“It’s a big thing, of course, but it’s still a long way to there. We have to go through Burton first of all and then the semi-finals and the final.

“But we just have to focus on tomorrow.”

A teenage Stewart Downing sat on the bench in Cardiff almost 15 years ago and would relish the opportunity to take his home-town club a step closer to another final.

Besic said: “I haven’t talked to him about this, but he is an experienced player and for sure, he wants to win something. Even to come first to the semi-finals is a big thing and I hope we will do it.”

Boro’s main focus for the season is promotion back to the Premier League after a two-year absence, and they head into the cup-tie without a win in four Championship games, a return which has dented their hopes.

However, Besic is hopeful that an extended run in the competition can rekindle their momentum in the league.

He said: “It can give us a boost and just the confidence back in our game and everything. If you were in the semi-finals with teams like – I don’t know who will go through, probably Chelsea, (Manchester) City – it’s a big thing for a Championship side.”

League One Burton will also relish the opportunity to make the last four of a major competition and will fancy their chances on Teesside a little more than eight months after being denied a Championship win over Boro by a last-gasp Britt Assombalonga equaliser at the Pirelli Stadium.

Manager Nigel Clough told the Burton Mail: “We still can’t quite believe that Burton Albion are in the last eight of a major cup competition.

“When you think we hadn’t been to the round before as well – but people forget the club has only been in the League Cup for 10 years, so we haven’t had too many opportunities to create history in the League Cup, a relatively new competition for us.

“Just to be there is wonderful but we can’t help thinking how good it would be if we can just get that one step further.”

Source: breakingnews.ie

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