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Interviews

MARKUS SCHOPP ON MIDDLESBROUGH TEST

19 October 2021

Our Head Coach looks ahead to Wednesday night's clash with Boro.

PLAYER AVAILABILITY

"I don't think Josh Benson or Liam Kitching will be ready for tomorrow. I think they're a possibility, hopefully, for the weekend, but again, we won't be taking any risks as they're big players for us. 

"Callum Styles should be available for tomorrow night, and I think there's a chance that Obbi Oularé could be involved, maybe from the bench. That's positive for us, because he's special in terms of offering us something completely different. 

"I hope to have Mads Andersen back before the next break, and Carlton Morris is probably going to rejoin the group during that break."

ON READING DEFEAT

"I saw some good sequences, we had a lot more interesting moments with the ball, we had 16 chances, but again, if we don't take our chances and we switch off, you get punished in this league.

"It's not an easy situation right now, but I thought there were positive signs in the last game and it's all about building on that, making the next step and I still feel that when it comes good in one game, things will start to improve for us this season.

"I still look at this squad of players and think they can do interesting things in this league."

THE SYSTEM

"This is a process, and I'm always assessing things. We are struggling to score right now, but we have three strikers on the pitch. So it's not as simple as that. A lot of this is about confidence, being sure and more certain in situations. 

"It's all about our defensive shape first. How we prepare, to be in a good shape on the pitch. That's all players, not just the defensive line. It's all about a good shape, knowing the system and then punishing our opponent.

"And again, that's not just about our forward players. It's every player. Can the 6 get into the box, we need our wingbacks higher, and so on. In the last game, this was actually really good. We had great counter-press situations. But it's about making the right decisions, to be more clinical in our work."

EXTERNAL PRESSURE

"I understand the job and so I know, I've been in the game long enough to know what it's about. And right now we are not getting results. But I remain fully convinced in what we are trying to do.

"I can't speak for what others will say or what they are going to do. But for me, I will continue to give my all in this job, to keep trying my best and hopefully tomorrow night we make that first step towards a brighter future."

ON BORO

"They're a good side, they have good physicality, and a number of good players in certain positions. Neil Warnock is a name I knew even when I was in Austria, so I know what to expect from his team.

"But we won't be going there on Wednesday to give him any kind of present.

"This is another opportunity to keep improving, to take the next step and it's all about handling the situation, trying to get the first goal and changing the results."


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