Garry Monk admits Middlesbrough’s display in their 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Scunthorpe has created a selection headache.
Monk picked an experimental team at the Riverside, with nine changes s to the XI that lost 2-1 at Nottingham Forest in the league on Saturday. The deputies took their opportunity as Fabio, Lewis Baker and Ashley Fletcher netted their first goals for the club.
Baker and Fletcher, on loan from Chelsea and signed from West Ham respectively, were particularly impressive, as was captain Grant Leadbitter – who was starting for the first time this season.
“I am pleased,” said Monk. “The key to the performance was the attitude and the workrate. “Scunthorpe were full of fight and spirit, and had their own quality as well. There’s a risk in how fluid the team will be when you make changes, but they applied themselves and are clearly committed to the work that we are doing.”
“It’s great to know the whole squad when called upon are ready and perform. If I had easy decisions each weekend, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly. These games are never easy but it was a really dominant performance. There are lots of players with the bit between their teeth.”
Monk also confirmed Boro have little intention of selling striker Rudy Gestede, who has been subject to a bid from Leeds.
“He’s an important player,” he said. “He is an integral player to what we are doing here. We do need one or two incomings, which I’ve talked about before. But, to be honest, I cannot wait for that window to close.”
“All of the players are important to us. We do not want to lose the players that are here right now.”
Graham Alexander on the positives from Scunthorpe’s display. “It was a tough one for us,” he said. “They have fantastic quality throughout their squad. I thought we competed really well and had some good spells. We created some chances, but didn’t find that little bit of quality. Middlesbrough were very clinical, but I’m really proud of the players. They really dug in and, even at 3-0, didn’t give up.”
“We know when you come up against a team of their quality, we need to stop them and be clinical. We needed to be at the top of our game. There are lots of positives, but we came to get a result so we are disappointed. But we’ve shown in the past that, when disappointment comes, we react really well.”