Nat Phillips speaks to the press

Phillips pre-Middlesbrough | We're looking to express ourselves

Nat Phillips spoke to the press ahead of our Sky Bet Championship clash against Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon. 

The Bluebirds head into the contest on the back of a brilliant 2-1 victory over high-flying Southampton last time out, with Cian Ashford netting a late winner on his first Sky Bet Championship start. 

There were also league debuts for fellow Academy products Raheem Conte and Luey Giles, who impressed after being introduced in the second half.

“It was a great result and a good performance from the team overall,” Nat began. “Everyone enjoyed it. It’s great to be able to take that forward, we want to finish the season strong. It was nice weekend for us.

“There’s been a few smiley faces, you can see that. It’s a proud moment making your debut and they all played really well. It was nice for the lads who have been there and done it to see them as well. They deserve it, they’ve been training well.”

Nat Phillips

Since moving to the Welsh capital in January on loan from Liverpool, the centre-back has formed a formidable partnership with Dimitrios Goutas. 

Nat continued: “I’ve enjoyed playing alongside Dimi. Quite often, it’s the case that the more you play together, the more you get to know each other and you develop your relationship on the pitch. That benefits the team having that consistency. 

“I enjoy the physical side of the game and getting the opportunity to do my part and help the team. I’ve always enjoyed trying to get blocks in, big tackles and winning my duels, the more you’re doing that, the better you’re doing your job.

“The goal when I came here was to play as much football as possible. I’ve enjoyed playing regularly and I’ve enjoyed the challenge. When I first came, I heard nothing but good things about the place. I’ve loved it here and it’s been easy to slot in.”

Nat Phillips

Middlesbrough head into Saturday’s fixture currently sitting ninth in the Sky Bet Championship table. 

With two fixtures left to play, the Riversiders cannot mathematically reach the Play-Offs.  

“Hopefully we can build on what we did at the weekend,” Nat added. “What was nice at the weekend was that the younger boys got an opportunity. They all took it, they all did well. That was, I’d imagine, nice for the fans to see as well. 

“There’s not a great deal that we’re playing for until the end of the season, but that in itself provides an opportunity for the boys to really enjoy their football and give the fans something they can enjoy watching. We played with a bit more risk and a bit more freedom at the weekend and I feel that makes for a more entertaining game for a fan. It’s nice to see your team giving it a good go. 

“Middlesbrough have been in decent form lately and they’re a club who are in a similar spot to us in the league. I don’t think they’ve got anything to play for either. I’m hoping for a game of football where there’ll be a lot of freedom, because both sides really aren’t playing under any pressure. 

“I’m hoping for a game where people can really enjoy their football and be expressive because they don’t have any pressure on them. It’ll be a game where both sides can express themselves and give it a good go.”

Watch more from Nat and Erol Bulut on Cardiff City TV!