March 10 2014 Latest news:
Friday, December 13, 2013
Norwich City’s on-loan defender Dani Ayala hopes his goalscoring exploits can trigger a belated Championship promotion push for Middlesbrough.
The Spanish centre back is half-way through a three-month loan spell on Teeside and scored his third goal since moving to the north-east in the 2-2 draw at Birmingham last weekend. Boro’s patchy form saw Tony Mowbray replaced by compatriot Aitor Karanka but the 23-year-old insists it is too early to write off the club’s play-off chances despite languishing in 18th place ahead of the festive spell.
“The play-offs look a long way off now but it is a very long season with many games and the teams are very tight together,” he said. “I haven’t been here too long but maybe we didn’t have that much confidence before. In the last few games we have been quite unlucky but I think we have shown we are good enough to get points. You just need to put a run of three or four wins together and it will look like a different picture. If we win a few then confidence will be up and you never know.”
Ayala detects a shift in approach between Mowbray’s methods and former Real Madrid assistant Karanka.
“We are working really hard in training and I think it is coming together,” he told the club’s official site. “Brighton is the next game at home and it will be difficult but we have to get the three points. We have a good record at home and that will help I think. People are enthusiastic for the new manager. I hope they can see that we are starting to play in a different way now. The new manager has a different style and he has only been here a month so it will take time to adapt.
“We are working hard tactically and technically, working on shape and organisation and learning to play higher up the pitch and at a higher tempo than before. We are all enjoying it and I think you can see it taking shape on the pitch now. We are playing in a different way, but we know too that it is no good saying that things are getting better – we need to win.”
Ayala admits Boro must improve on a wretched away record which has seen them win just once in 2013 on the road. The Spaniard’s thumping late header at St Andrews looked to have secured all three points before Kyle Bartley struck in stoppage time to deny Boro a rare away success.
“In the last two or three away games we’ve just been unlucky and I think we will get points now,” he said. “The way this league is, if you win a few games in a row you can move up the table very quickly. I’m really pleased with the goal but the important thing is to get the result and we didn’t get that, so we’re a bit bitter about that. It felt like a defeat.”