Humbled Middlesbrough rue 'missed chances'

May 10, 2006

Middlesbrough midfielder George Boateng rued the chances his side missed as they were beaten 4-0 by Sevilla in the UEFA Cup final.

GettyImages / DavidCannonMcClaren can't hide his disappointment on the bench.

The Teessiders fell behind to a first-half header from Luis Fabiano and were denied an equaliser in the second period by a brilliant point-blank save by Andres Palop from Mark Viduka's volley.

The Australian then appeared to be pushed in the box in an aerial challenge by Javi Navarro but no penalty was awarded by German referee Herbert Fandel.

And the game then swung decisively Sevilla's way as Enzo Maresca scored a brace and former Tottenham striker Fredi Kanoute added a fourth.

Dutch midfielder Boateng told ITV1: 'We had our chances but we did not take them, that is the only difference.

'You can see how good (Sevilla) are, they played really well but if we had taken our chances we would have won the game.

'There is a big question on Viduka, whether it was a penalty or not.'

Middlesbrough captain Gareth Southgate admitted his team were staring at a tall task after Sevilla went in front.

'We tried to push forward but left ourselves a little open at the back,' Southgate said on ITV1.

'To win a game like this you need to score the first goal.'

Southgate revealed how Middlesbrough's players were desperate to reward their supporters but conceded Sevilla had been far the better team.

'We wanted to give them one more good night and take the trophy back to them,' the former England defender added.

'Credit to Sevilla. Tonight it was their night.'

Viduka had a terrific chance to equalise in the 52nd minute, when his close-range shot was blocked superbly by goalkeeper Palop.

He was quick to admit that proved a turning point.

'If I'd put that way it might have turned out differently,' said the Australian striker.

'Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't. I thought we could go all the way tonight, considering in the last two games we played at home we played some really good football.

'Right now everybody is hurting, but in a couple of weeks' time ourselves and fans will think we've come a long way.'

Boro chairman Steve Gibson acknowledged the best team won.

He continued on ITV1: 'I'm very pleased to have got this far and I've no complaints about the result - we were well beaten by a very good team.

'We've had a great year and enjoyed this run, but congratulations to Sevilla.

'We'll take it on the chin, wipe ourselves down and get on with it.'

As for who replaces England-bound Boro boss Steve McClaren, he added: 'We've had quite a bit of notice from the Football Association so we've been busy for a long time.

'But there are no time pressures - it's a big decision, it's got to be the right one and we'll take our time over it.

'We'll keep our cards close to our chest and when we are ready to make an announcement we will.'

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, whose future at Middlesbrough is in doubt with his contract soon to expire, was as deflated as his team-mates.

'They had the better of the game, but in the second half we played a lot better,' said the Dutchman on ITV1.

'You have to take your chances. You need a bit of luck, and when it's a penalty you have to be given a penalty.'

An apparent shove on Viduka in the penalty area went unpunished, to Hasselbaink's amazement.

'You get a top referee and he's scared of making those decisions,' he added.

'Viduka has the ball on his chest and the guy just runs into his back and he can't keep his balance.

'Everywhere else on the pitch it would have been a free-kick.'

The former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid frontman added: 'Four-nil doesn't really reflect the game.'

Asked about his future, he said: 'Let this sink in, then we will see what happens.'