Marten de Roon reveals Aitor Karanka's inspirational team talk during Manchester City draw

Marten de Roon reveals Aitor Karanka's inspirational team talk during Manchester City draw

The Dutch midfielder also spoke about the importance of communication on the pitch and the feeling of scoring his first Middlesbrough goal

Sam France

If Middlesbrough's last-gasp draw away to Manchester City on Saturday afternoon was unlikely, just as much so was the man who scored their precious goal, Marten de Roon.

The 25-year-old midfield destroyer has just nine league goals to his name since the beginning of his senior career at Sparta Rotterdam in 2010, but the Dutchman has said that the team talk given by Aitor Karanka at half-time at the Etihad inspired himself and his teammates to a famous result.

Boro were a goal down at half-time but, had it not been for some profligate finishing and the goalkeeping form of Victor Valdes, City could have been on track for a record scoreline.

The visitors went into the break without a shot at goal or anything resembling a chance to have one, with their backs-to-the-wall tactics found out moments before the whistle as Kevin de Bruyne's stunning cross put a goal on a plate for Sergio Aguero.

'No fear', urges Karanka

De Roon admitted to The Gazette that "we were struggling in the first half" and that his opposite number Fernandinho "had too much freedom", but praised former Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes as Boro's best performer.

"The coach said to us at half-time: ‘Don’t be afraid,'" De Roon said. "'Play with confidence. You are in the Premier League. Show them you deserve to be here. Show what you are capable of and what your game is’".

And, as the midfielder pointed out, Middlesbrough did exactly that. The Dutchman pointed to the increased influence of his midfield partners Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw, who pushed further upfield to press City and create chances.

'Keep going', screams de Roon

After a difficult first 45 minutes, de Roon claimed that team spirit and communication on the pitch were key as his side chased the game against a side who had defeated Barcelona in midweek.

“We were talking and screaming to each other, saying ‘If we keep going and keep doing these things, we will get our chance.’"

It was de Roon who was in the right place at the right time to take the golden opportunity when it came, and he described it as an "amazing" moment.

The goalscorer was quick to praise the cross delivered from deep by left-back George Friend, and admitted his own surprise due to the fact that, in his own words, "I never score!"

Confident Boro head for more difficult fixtures

Next up for Middlesbrough after the international break is another daunting double-header against Chelsea and Leicester City, before a crucial game at home to bottom-half rivals Hull City to kick off December and the festive period.

After taking two points and conceding just once in recent trips to Arsenal and City, however, Boro will be confident of securing a result against in-form Chelsea despite this weekend's demolition of Everton.