Southgate: Cup on our minds
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate felt Middlesbrough had Monday on their mind in losing 2-0 to Man City.
Gareth Southgate felt Middlesbrough had Monday on their mind in losing 2-0 to Manchester City.
Second-half goals from Sylvain Distin and Emile Mpenza condemned Boro to a first defeat at The Riverside since early December.
Manchester United were the victors on that occasion and Southgate believes Monday's FA Cup replay against the Premiership leaders affected his team against City.
"I think the whole atmosphere was very flat," Southgate told Sky Sports News. "We didn't create any spark and didn't play with any verve.
"Subconsciously, the players were maybe looking towards Monday and, if I set the tone for that by making changes, I have to take responsibility.
"The players have been brilliant for me. We've had 15 games and they've given me absolutely everything.
"We didn't perform today and you have days like that. It can be very hard to put Monday night out of your head.
"We've got to pick up very quickly and we have a great game to do it in."
Boro lost Emanuel Pogatetz to injury inside the opening 10 minutes and Southgate is awaiting a bulletin on the Austrian defender's fitness.
He added: "We're just waiting to see, they've taken him off to hospital.
"It might be a nerve, or a bone injury, and we've got to just see what news comes back."
Jonathan Woodgate was left out due to an ankle knock, but will return against The Red Devils, as will Mark Viduka, although Julio Arca remains a doubt.