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Pulis pays tribute to Boro legend.

Byline: DOMINIC SHAW dominic.shaw@reachplc.com @domshawgazette

IF the coming week is a success then Boro will be looking forward to their first League Cup semi-final since 2004.

But before Burton comes today's trip to QPR to face the man who led the side to that historic Carling Cup victory 14 years ago.

McClaren has enjoyed plenty of ups and endured several downs since departing Boro for England in 2006 but, says current boss Tony Pulis, his counterpart in the technical areas at Loftus Road this weekend will reflect on his Boro tenure as a "special" time. Pulis remembers watching on TV as McClaren's Boro launched not one but two incredible and unthinkable UEFA Cup comebacks to book their place in the final.

And Pulis also watched on with admiration as McClaren led Boro to that Carling Cup victory and an FA Cup semi-final two years later.

"Being a football man, the great thing about it is watching teams like Leicester," says Pulis.

"The other clubs have everything, so you expect them to do stuff. It's the clubs who haven't got everything to look at, and think that's some achievement.

"You don't have to tell Steve.

Steve will look and think what he did was pretty special. The players who were here, they'll know it was pretty special."

In the eyes of many observers from outside Teesside, McClaren is instantly associated with his England struggles and his difficulty at Newcastle rather than his success at Boro and abroad. Pulis said: "I just think people forget quickly whatever you do. Whatever you achieve it's washed away.

"Football moves from day to day, week to week, month to month."

McClaren was under pressure after a slow start with QPR this season but has overseen an impressive improvement. They've only won one of their last six games but are sitting comfortable in mid-table when a relegation scrap looked on the cards back in August.

"I think he (McClaren) needs time," said Pulis. "I think everybody deserves that opportunity to clear things out, change things round, move things on and build something. He's a good football man, and a good coach."

CAPTION(S):

Steve McClaren with the Carling Cup in 2004 after Boro beat Bolton Wanderers

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2018
Words:373
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