Purrfect result and purrformance against the black cats.

BORO were fantastic in beating Sunderland with a superb battling team performance.

Seriously. It was fantastic. It was a brilliant display by the entire team and a great atmosphere from the fans.

Everyone was buzzing over it except the poor Mackems. And my word, they were poor.

It will made a lot of people outside the North-east sit up and take notice of Tony Mowbray’s side, that’s for sure.

Not many people out there would have given Boro much chance. The bookies didn’t. Not many expert pundits did. Even some of the Teesside fans there probably didn’t expect to get much from the game.

Personally I was hoping to take it into extra time and maybe nick it late on but my word, Boro tortured Sunderland.

It was a one sided game with Boro better in every department. Even a man from Mars could see Boro were the better team – and if he was asked which side were the Premier League side he would definitely have picked us.

Boro were very organised, very disciplined, the work rate was phenomenal, the team spirit was great, they were organised at the back, stifled the opposition in midfield and were more ruthless in up front.

It was as good and professional away display by a lower division side as you will see.

Not that you could see any gap between the two teams. You certainly wouldn’t think that one side had spent tens of millions on signings and the other has been digging dug the back of the settee for change.

Just look at the contest in Boro’s box. When you looked at the team-sheet Sunderland were frightening. It seemed they were the ones with all the fire-power and creativity.

They had Stephen Fletcher, a £12m man who has been on fire this term; they had Louis Saha who has won the Premier League, the Champions League got to the World Cup final with France; Adam Johnson who got a title medal last season and plays for England; they Stephane Sessegnon who made them tick last year.

That is some firepower!

But Boro’s bargain basement cut-price defence made them look toothless and clueless.

Look at Boro’s back-line: Andre Bikey was a free transfer; Stuart Parnaby was a free transfer; Justin Hoyte was re-signed as a free agent; Seb Hines came through the Boro ranks; only George Friend cost a fee and that was only £100,000 – and what a bargain that looks now by the way!

But forget the pricetags. Just look at how they played. That Boro defence were completely water-tight. Jason Steele barely had a save to make. Bikey had Fletcher in his back pocket.

Boro totally stifled Sunderland. They never had a sniff. And not just in front of goal. It was the same in midfield where the Boro work-rate and organisation and tackling were too much for the Mackems.

There was only one side in it and all the Sunderland fans I spoke to in the stadium after the game admitted as much.

Now Boro are in the last eight and looking good for a real crack at the League Cup.

*[OK, it is away at Swansea and they are a Premier League side but Boro beat a top flight side in Sunderland so we know we can do it. Why not think about winning it? And if you get through that who knows?]*

This is a competition we have every right to dream about winning. We know it can be done. We’ve done it before.

And whether you get a “big club” or a “little club” at this stage doesn’t matter.

If you take it seriously and play on the day like we did against Sunderland again then we can get through.

TONY Mowbray must be nailed on to win the Manager of the Month for October – and he deserves it without any shadow of a doubt.

In October Boro have won four and drawn one – and won away at a Premier League side in the League Cup. Only Cardiff are anywhere close in the form table and they have lost one, away at Forest.

For me the award would be well deserved, although knowing Mogga it won’t mean a lot to him personally. He is only focussed on winning points and real trophies.

He’ll have a box full of these awards gathering dust in his loft. The only trophy he will give house-room too will the sort they dish out in May.

But the accolade is still recognition of what the team has achieved in the past month and let’s be honest, they have been brilliant.

Since losing at home to Leicester at the end of last month Boro have terrific. A late goal mean they only drew at home to Derby in a flat game but since then they have come from behind to win at Watford, they won at in-form Brighton, they beat Hull and Bolton at home and then put in that sizzling show at Sunderland.

Some people talk about these awards being a poisoned chalice but for me that is just superstitious nonsense.

You win these things because the team are performing well. It is a feather in your cap.

I hope he does win it. I hope he wins a box full of them.

SO A referee is in hot water for supposedly making inappropriate comments to players?

That’s awful. Not that he has supposedly said something – you can’t blame refs for snapping back given the amount of abuse they get from players – but that he’s in trouble for it.

It seems that everything that happens on the pitch now someone takes offence – and not always the ‘victim’ – and runs off to report it to the authorities. That’s sad.

Football is a physical game full of passion and drama played by strong men with no quarter asked or shown. There are some real tough guys out there, real competitors. And anything that goes on the pitch should stay there.

Now it seems people are always running off telling tales.

Now I’m no fan of referees – I think know the rules but they don’t know the game – but they but they do a very difficult job. I certainly don’t envy them. It’s one guy on his own surrounded by two teams of players who are all looking to get an advantage and cheat them.

And when they take an honest decision they run the risk of five Rottweilers surrounding them and screaming in their face. So who would be surprised if they made the odd comment back to a players?

Over the years I had a few refs having a dig at me, telling me I was having a mare or I’d missed a sitter. And maybe I was. I don’t mind that. I certainly wouldn’t run down the tunnel and report them.

The Three Legends show returned to its original format, with ex Newcastle and England striker Malcolm Macdonald and Sunderland FACup winner Micky Horswill. Join on 08450132200 or Tune in via star 6-8 pm weekdays.

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