Ex-Reds: United must respect Middlesbrough
Former Manchester United players Wes Brown, Ben Thornley and Danny Webber discussed how Ralf Rangnick can ensure his side progress to the next round of the Emirates FA Cup, when they appeared on MUTV this week.
The ex-Reds trio are regular pundits on our discussion show The Debate and when the topic of conversation turned towards Friday's home meeting with Middlesbrough, Thornley acknowledged: “It is going to be a tricky tie, but it is one I would expect Manchester United to come through.
“I think Middlesbrough will be looking to be a battering ram of a team, to see how much they can unsettle United.
“As long as we don’t take the tie lightly, we should get through.”
Thornley played under Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder back in 2004, when he was in charge of Halifax Town.
The ex-United winger feels that his former boss will aim to frustrate the Reds and make life difficult for them.
“They will try and make it awkward and knowing Chris Wilder as I do, he will have that in his locker to do that,” said Thornley.
“I would imagine he will be looking to get them really fired up to see how much they can unsettle United.
“But on the night, if Manchester United are tuned in, then the quality should come through.”
Meanwhile, Brown reiterated the need for Rangnick’s side to maintain professionalism against our opponents from the Championship.
“We have to take this tie very seriously,” warned the former United centre-back.
“We have got a great opportunity to get through to the next round but I do think these games are tricky.”
Brown expects Rangnick to make several changes to his line-up for the match but maintained that any alterations shouldn’t lower the performance level.
“We should have too much quality for Middlesbrough, but at the same time they will feel they can come and get a result.
“That is what we need to be careful of, we have to give them that respect and play well. We can’t take our foot off the gas at any point, but it is a game we can definitely get through and go to the next round.”
Another regular member of The Debate panel, Danny Webber, believes the larger away support permitted in FA Cup ties could have a bearing on the Old Trafford atmosphere.
“It does make a difference when there is such a massive away support,” said the ex-striker.
Why does Robbo think the FA Cup is so important?
United legend Bryan Robson joins The Debate to discuss Middlesbrough and Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie…
“It has been a while since Boro have come to Old Trafford and they probably took it for granted when they were in the Premier League, with Juninho, Ravanelli and players like that. They have fallen quite a way and they are on the rebuild now under Wilder.
“To have 9,500 away fans should make a really good atmosphere, with the Boro supporters probably spending the weekend in Manchester. Hopefully they won't go away with smiles on their faces. But Chris Wilder has done a really good job and they are sitting in the play-off positions [in the Championship] so, you never know, next season they could be here again.”
The Debate is shown every Monday evening on MUTV, ManUtd.com and the Manchester App.