Boro turn focus to league
Emanuel Pogatetz has told his Middlesbrough team-mates to switch their attention away from the FA Cup.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 28/02/08 8:10pm
Emanuel Pogatetz has told his Middlesbrough team-mates to switch their attention away from the FA Cup and prepare for another 'massive game' in the Premier League.
Boro have only lost one of their last six league games and are now seven points clear of the relegation zone, but Pogatetz feels it is vital to secure another victory against struggling Reading on Saturday.
Boro will face Cardiff in the FA Cup quarter-finals the following weekend and Pogatetz is looking to progress further in the competition, but he does not want to be dragged into a relegation scrap either.
The Austrian said: "It was a big game last night (against Sheffield United) and a bonus for the season. To achieve something in the FA Cup would be a great honour.
"But first of all, we have to concentrate on the league - and the Reading game is a massive game.
"If you look at the table, we really have to make sure that we win it at home - because a couple of really tough games are coming up after the Reading game.
"It is very important that we focus on that game now. The FA Cup has gone, and now everyone has to get their mind right for Reading.
"If we can win the Reading game, it can make the last part of the season a lot easier for us than if we lose, and will ease the pressure."
Afonso Alves made his full Middlesbrough debut in the hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sheffield United and Pogatetz believes he will take the Premier League by storm once he settles in.
Pogatetz said: "Afonso is still not at his best, but last night everyone got an impression of what he can do.
"It has made me think about what he is going to be like when he is fully fit.
"When he is fully fit and he adapts as well to the Premier League for the rest of the season, I think next season we will see the best of him - and he will be a great part of our season next year as well."