- FA Cup
We're not scared of Chelsea insists MowbrayESPN staff February 27, 2013 « Messi should be fit to face Madrid after missing training | #TransferDeadlineDay »
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray has insisted his side will not be overawed when they face reigning European champions Chelsea in the fifth-round of the FA Cup.
Mowbray has seen his side knock out Premier League side Sunderland from the League Cup before giving eventual winners Swansea a mighty scare, losing by one goal, in the quarter-finals of the same competition.
And the 49-year-old former Celtic and West Bromwich Albion manager believes the Championship side can add the most impressive scalp of them all come Wednesday.
"Here we are, we have beaten Sunderland and why can't Middlesbrough give Chelsea a really tough game and be competitive? I am sure we will be,'' Mowbray said. "The Premier League teams we have played this year, we acquitted ourselves pretty well in both games.
"We went out in the quarter-finals away at Swansea to the eventual winners in a game from which we felt really harshly done by not to come out with a positive result.
"Early on in that game in particular, we were on top and had the better chances. And Sunderland, to go to the Stadium of Light and win was a good day for the club.
"It shows the players they can do it, they can go and compete because if Chelsea were playing at Sunderland tonight, you would all expect Sunderland to give them a really tough game and be competitive."
The gulf between Middlesbrough and Chelsea is not only regarded by the difference in leagues, with the London club filling their trophy cabinet while Mowbray's men have been languishing in the Championship since being relegated in 2009.
But Chelsea have experienced an in-different campaign this season, claiming the dubious honour of being the first Champions League winners to be knocked out at the group stage the following year, while in the Premier League, the Blues have fallen 19-points behind league-leaders Manchester United.
And Mowbray believes the difference in pedigree between the clubs, and Chelsea's recent woes, dumps all the pressure of reaching the Cup's quarter-finals on the Premier League club.
"When you manage a club that expects to win every competition it enters, or be very competitive, it's a big game for Chelsea," Mowbray said.
"That's why I think they will come with a very, very strong side and try to get the job done on the night. The last thing they would want is a replay.
"I have to say, the last thing we would want is a replay as well because the league games are ultimately the most important thing."