MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray says Barry Robson does not need to apologise for anything after the midfielder's error allowed Sunderland an FA Cup lifeline.
The two Wear-Tees rivals played out a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, although Boro fans will be thinking they should have been celebrating a memorable cup victory were it not for Robson’s error.
The Scotland international had given them a first-half lead with a spectacular strike, but his underhit passback close to the hour was latched upon by James McClean who in turn played in Fraizer Campbell to smash in the equaliser.
Mowbray said: “Barry does not need to apologise. He has thrown his man-of- the-match champagne in the bin.
“He is a very emotional boy is Barry yet he epitomises the spirit required of the group as we move on – particularly in the Championship where you have to fight your corner in every minute of every game.
“Barry leads from the front, his goal especially.
“If you remember he scored a similar one to win it against Hull and he scored a great first-time volley.
“He has great quality as well as the heart the size of a lion.
“As for the discarded champagne, I don’t think he drinks anyway.
“He is just frustrated and disappointed because of the nature of the goal. He is worked extremely hard.”
Mowbray added: “The dressing room is slightly disappointed we did not come through the tie. We showed great spirit despite the nature of Sunderland’s equaliser, which we handed on a plate to them really.
“We could have lost a bit of heart after that but we pushed on and if anything looked as if we were going to maybe get a win.
“It was a good derby game. It started off with the first half an hour a bit attritional you could say. Nobody was going to give an inch.”
The replay is now set for a week on Tuesday and, even though Boro will have home advantage, Mowbray is still considering his side as cup underdogs.
He added: “If you hve seen us at the Riverside this year, we have generally found it easier to get results away from home. Hopefully this will catch the imagination of the town.”