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Friday, May 15, 2009

Southgate:Middlesborough Aiming For Instant Promotion After Relegation!!

Yes it is still mathematically possible for Middlesborough to escape relegation.

But base on the club's current form and Southgate's uncanny ability to motivate his players, relegation feels almost like a foregone conclusion. 3 seasons in charge at Middlesborough, the club metamorphosised from a UEFA cup finalist into a likely relegation candidate.

Only a victory will keep the club's slender survival hopes alive. Middlesbrough can survive only if they beat Villa at the Riverside and their relegation rivals do not also win.

He said, "I don't want people here to be thinking they are getting the life-rafts ready.

"We have got to perform and continue to the end and give a performance on Saturday that shows the hunger and passion to stay in this league. Whatever personal agendas there may be have to be put to one side.

"You just have to remind the players of their jobs and professional obligations.

"Everyone at this football club is our player until their contract runs out or we decide that we are prepared to accept an offer for them.

"Professional pride has to be foremost."

Stewart Downing, Gary O'Neil and Tuncay are all heavily linked with a summer move out of the club.

"Every player in this squad has played a part this season and we are where we are because collectively we have not done enough," said Southgate.

"I don't think anyone can feel that we are too good to go down.

"Being good covers a lot of different qualities - it's not just technical ability but mental strength, physical toughness and character.

"If you don't survive in the division you have not been good enough. You may have technically good footballers but it's the whole package that makes you a success or a failure in sport."

Losing to Newcastle last week had dented Middlesborough survival chances. Southgate said: "It was the biggest game a lot of our players had ever played in and to lose it and witness the celebrations up there was particularly hard for them to take."

"It would be wrong if it had been easy to lift everybody.

"Now we just have to aim to leave the stadium on Saturday night with a win. If we do we will still be in the Premier League at least until Sunderland play on Monday.

"If other results go for us it means we could go into the last weekend of the season still alive - and that could prove to be very interesting."

Is thee current club woes the culmination of a series of managerial errors by Southgate?