Sign me up - contract hopes for keeper Konstantopoulos after stellar Middlesbrough form (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Sign me up - contract hopes for keeper Konstantopoulos after stellar Middlesbrough form
DIMI KONSTANTOPOULOS hopes that his fine form for Middlesbrough will earn him a new contract at the end of the season.
Konstantopoulos’ initial deal on Teesside was extended to the conclusion of this campaign, but the former Hartlepool United goalkeeper has cemented his position as first-choice goalkeeper and is keen to extend his deal.
The Greek stopper put in a man of the match performance in the 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday to extend Boro’s winning run to four games, and Aitor Karanka has not looked beyond the 35-year-old following Shay Given’s return to Aston Villa and injury to Real Madrid loanee Tomas Mejias.
Konstantopoulos knows that as long as he keeps performing well, Boro have a decision to make on his future in the summer.
“I’m here until the end of the season then we’ll see what happens,” said Konstantopoulos. “The better you play, the more you impress the coach, so hopefully that can continue for me.
“Things at the start of the season were different. The manager was different and it wasn’t the best situation for me. But I kept working hard and the new gaffer came in and things changed. We have really good keepers at the club and it keeps us on our toes, that’s the key.
“We have to work hard to keep our place. Not just keepers, every position too. The manager said that and assured that if we train well, and play well, you keep your place, otherwise someone else will come in.”
Konstantopoulos’ Turf Moor shutout was his fifth in ten appearances this year, a statistic made all the more impressive by the fact that the former Greece international played behind an entirely different backline to the one he started with against Birmingham City four days earlier.
And, against Burnley, Konstantopoulos had his work cut out for him, making a string of important saves in the final 20 minutes of the game after Jacob Butterfield opened the goalscoring.
“They had a big spell,” Konstantopoulos explained . “They put us under the cosh, but we knew that was going to happen. The lads in front of me were terrific.
“There were a couple of tricky shots because of the wind, but I was trying to stay focused for 90 minutes which is all you can do as a goalkeeper and try to react in those situations.
“We knew we were going to be under pressure, especially at the beginning of each half. We didn’t come here to defend for 90 minutes but we knew we had to work hard. They play direct football.
“Our goal was to go there, play, and try to score a goal. Obviously we did it, and everyone’s happy.”
Victory against Burnley has raised hopes in some quarters of Boro making a late surge to the play-offs, but Konstantopoulos at least is comforted that his team are finishing the campaign in a rich vein of form.
“It shows that we’re not being complacent,” he explained. “We’re not pushing for the play-offs despite what everyone thinks. We’re trying to do the best job we can do before the end of the season, and that’s what we’re going to do, we’ve got four games so let’s win all four.
“We need to focus on the next game. Win the next game, and if we win all of them, let’s see where it takes us. It’s a bit of a cliché, but that’s all we can do at the minute. We’re enjoying our run and we want it to continue.
“All we can do is keep winning. If we can get there, fantastic. But other teams have to drop points so it’s not in our hands.”
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