Michael Carrick backs Emmanuel Latte Lath to take scoring form into next season

The Middlesbrough striker scored his 11th goal in 12 league games in the victory over Watford.

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick .
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick . (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Michael Carrick believes Middlesbrough striker Emmanuel Latte Lath can carry his fine goal-scoring form into next season.

The former Atalanta forward scored his 11th goal in 12 league games, taking his overall tally to 18 in his first season at the Riverside, as he set Boro on their way to a 3-1 victory over Watford.

Latte Lath won the Championship’s player of the month award for April after hitting seven goals in six games and Carrick is excited by what the Ivorian can produce next term.

“We’ve hoped and known the potential he had and his strengths and attributes,” said Boro’s head coach.

“He’s had a really incredible patch in terms of scoring goals and there’s no reason he can’t build on that going into next year.”

Latte Lath fired Boro ahead in the first half when he swept home Luke Ayling’s cross.

Wesley Hoedt drew Watford level 17 minutes from time, but Boro hit back and secured a deserved victory thanks to late goals from substitute Alex Bangura and winger Isaiah Jones.

Boro failed to win any of their first seven games of the season but finished the campaign with just one defeat in 12 to sit eighth, just four points shy of the play-off places.

Carrick said: “The spirit has gone an awful long way to helping us on this run at the end of the season.

“There’s a feeling of positivity after a win and run like that and a lot of feel-good inside the group. The other side is when you pull away from it how close we’ve come.

“There’s the feeling that we didn’t want the season to end, but I’m not sure the lads will be thinking that when they’re sat on a beach!

“The feel around the stadium at the end, there was real happiness and a connection between the fans and players and we need to build on that next season.”

The defeat on Teesside brought to an end a disappointing season for Watford, who won just two of their last 13 games and finished 15th, just six points above the relegation zone.

Tom Cleverley was recently appointed head coach on a permanent basis, Watford’s 12th full-time boss since 2018, and he is desperate to ensure the Hornets improve next season.

He said: “I’ve no complaints with the result.

“I thought they just showed more personality with the ball than us. They stayed calm and played around us which made it difficult.

“I’ve told the lads that’s something for me to address, because I feel we are nowhere near unlocking the potential of this team in possession.

“I’m frustrated. The fans got up at 4.30am to come here and it will be just as bad a journey back as it was up.

“I’ve said, personally I joined the club as a player when they were 16th or 17th in the Premier League. It didn’t sit right with me retiring in the league below. I’ll do everything I can to get us where we want to be.”