After a tough season which has seen Boro occupy the relegation zone for much of it, Saturday’s game against MK Dons provides the opportunity to leave the bottom four for only the second time since November. We spoke to John Mousinho on Thursday morning about heading into the final stretch of the season.
“It’s massively important to win on Saturday," he told us, "especially now we’ve put ourselves in a better position. There’s light at the end of the tunnel now and wins can push us up the league. Points are always valuable but especially now when we’re into the final 10 games of the season.
“We won’t be making them into cup finals because they’re not, they’re league games. It’s important to stay focused and not get too carried away and make sure we treat each game properly with the respect they deserve.
“We’ve been on a fairly solid run, albeit we’d have like to won a couple of the ones we’ve drawn, but we’re definitely in a better position now and if we can take that form into the final 10 games of the season we should give ourselves every chance.”
When asked about whether the players are excited about the challenge, there was no hesitation with his answer: “Absolutely. They have been from day one, certainly since I’ve walked through the door. There’s been no negativity about the place, it’s all been about getting out the hole we’ve put ourselves in.
“Obviously we’d like to be fighting at the other end of the table, it’s not the ideal position but we’ve certainly got everything to play for.”
Since Mousinho re-joined the club, the team have slowly been on an upward trajectory and he believes it’s down to the manager finally getting the right squad together.
“I can’t really speak for the manager but I’m guessing the work he’s done over the season and especially January, means he’s possibly happiest with the squad he’s got now. Everything’s been very positive since I’ve been in: training's been good, the atmosphere has been good and obviously results help that. It’s a catch 22 - you need the positive results to help the confidence and you need the confidence to help get the results. Thankfully we’ve got a bit of both now.”
Speaking about MK Dons, Mousinho is under no illusions that they’ll prove a stern test.
“They’ve picked up a few good results recently and pushed their way up the league and are in the hunt for the last play-off spot. We’ll make sure we pay them the right amount of attention that they deserve, but we do so with any team, no matter what league position they’re in.
“If we can get The Lamex rocking and get the fans involved, give them something to bounce off, it can be a very difficult place for away teams to play. Over the years that’s proved to be the case and home form is massive.
“We’ve got quite a few home games in the run-in so we need to keep the fans behind us like they have been. We go into all games looking to win but the familiarity and not having to travel all helps. There’s the added pressure with the expectation of the home fans but having 6 out of 10 homes games left is certainly a bonus.”
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