Mowbray on a high as he returns as Middlesbrough manager

Tony Mowbray was delighted about returning to Middlesbrough after being confirmed as their new manager.

Tony Mowbray was delighted about returning to Middlesbrough after being confirmed as their new manager.

Mowbray, a club legend from his playing days, has returned to Teesside for the first time in nearly 20 years since leaving as a player.

Mowbray has now returned to management, after leaving his role with Celtic in March.

"There was a few issues to resolve (with Celtic)," he told Sky Sports News.

"But since I was six or seven I have been a Middlesbrough fan, so when the opportunity arose - it didn't take me a moment's thought.

"This a club I have been passionate about all my life and I have this opportunity to guide them back where they belong. Our ambition is to get the club moving back in the right direction.

"I have been away for 19-and-a-half years, and every week my phone goes and tells me how Boro did, this is a special place and people who leave Middlesbrough know - you meet Boro people everywhere and they are very passionate about their team because when the Riverside is bouncing it is a special place and we need to get the fans back on board, so how much thought did I give it? Not much thought."

After hugely successful spells with Hibernian and West Bromwich Albion, Mowbray was sacked by Celtic just ten months into his tenure.

"I have got no problems with my ability as a football manager," he continued.

"To try and build entertaining sides after ten months and then a decision is made to change that is fine - it wasn't my decision so it does not hinder my belief to build teams that are entertaining.

"This is a big job, not the starting job you want it to be - the Championship is antirational and abrasive, whether you’re playing a team at the top or bottom it is a battle, we have to start by winning games and we start at the weekend and we need to get the belief and the confidence going."

Despite taking charge with the club third from bottom, Mowbray insists promotion remains a realistic aim.

"The play-off scenario is that your hanging on to the tails, rather than looking at top-two, you’re looking at the top six and that gives you something to shoot at and we have to start now, and looking at the weekend against Bristol City."

Mowbray was the man who sold a number of Boro's current players to the club from Celtic, but he insists that anything that has happened in the past is not an issue.

He said: "Footballers understand how football works, if somebody is not in your team and knocks on your door, that is a positive sign - and if the opportunity arises to move them that is fine, the fact Gordon had worked with them and brought them, it suited all parties at the time.

"They knew there was no fall out and no animosity, that they were all sat on the front two rows when I met the team this morning - they all get the same opportunity, it all starts level, all I ask if they come in every day, work hard, be a good professional and together we can be successful."

Mowbray insists that his former charges are more than good enough for the Championship.

"Thomson, Boyd, McDonald, Robson, nobody will tell me they are not capable," he said.

"They are talented boys and driven footballers, and they are all positives for me and I have to put them in the framework - it is healthy competition - the challenge is there for them all to force their way into the team."

Have your say