The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joe Tait

TONY MOW­BRAY will not walk away from Mid­dles­brough de­spite see­ing his side’s alarming run con­tinue with de­feat to Brighton & Hove Al­bion.

Boro were ten points clear of sixth place in De­cem­ber, but now find them­selves closer to the rel­e­ga­tion zone than the play-offs af­ter pick­ing up just two wins in 18 games, while Satur­day’s game was their third straight fix­ture with­out a goal.

“By na­ture I am a fighter, I never give in,” said Mow­bray, af­ter sec­ond-half goals from An­drea Or­landi and David Lopez pro­pelled Al­bion to fifth and left Boro eight points off the play-offs.

“You’ll have to ask the chair­man that ques­tion. I’m not go­ing to walk away from any­thing, it’s tough, it’s not easy, on a run like this.

“We work hard, we have game­plans, we’ll keep go­ing ul­ti­mately. The chair­man knows the sit­u­a­tion we in­her­ited, the prob­lems we’ve got, the is­sues around the foot­ball club.

“If some­one can come in and do a bet­ter job or make a dif­fer­ent im­pact, that’s their pre­rog­a­tive. At the moment, my na­ture is to dig in, to try and help our club turn it around.

“I want Boro in the Pre­mier League, the sup­port­ers want the Boro in the Pre­mier League, how are we go­ing to do that? Use the re­sources we have as clev­erly as we can. It’s ob­vi­ous at the moment that we are go­ing back­wards. There are many rea­sons for that, none that I will dis­cuss here.

“The chair­man knows the sit­u­a­tion, ul­ti­mately he makes the de­ci­sions. He’s sup­port­ive and he un­der­stands.”

Boro were the bet­ter side in the first half, Scott McDon­ald see­ing his shot de­flected out for a cor­ner on 38 min­utes, while Andy Hal­l­i­day’s ef­fort whis­tled wide of the post three min­utes be­fore half-time.

Al­bion, how­ever, should have been in the lead five min­utes af­ter the restart, when Leonardo Ul­loa hooked in a cross for Dean Ham­mond, Hal­l­i­day missed the header and the Brighton mid­fielder fired over on the turn.

Wayne Bridge em­barked on a surg­ing run from deep which ended up in the box, but the Manch­ester City loa­nee’s cross did not find any tak­ers.

From the counter-at­tack, Mer­ouane Zem­mama sup­plied McDon­ald with a per­fect pass but the Aus­tralian for­ward dinked his shot over the cross­bar when he had time and space to carry it for­ward.

Such profli­gacy was pun­ished by the vis­i­tors on the hour mark when, un­chal­lenged, Ham­mond saun­tered down the right wing and whipped in a per­fect cross for Or­landi to vol­ley home on the in­step.

Boro ral­lied, but for all of their huff and puff, Brighton put the game out of sight on 76 min­utes, Lopez rac­ing on to Liam Brid­cutt's ball and float­ing a sub­lime shot over Steele, send­ing the 624 Al­bion fans into eu­pho­ria.

Al­bion man­ager Gus Poyet praised his side’s phys­i­cal dis­play at Mid­dles­brough: “We had a dif­fer­ent kind of team. Some­times peo­ple are look­ing for ex­cite­ment, speed, one ver­sus one.

We had the strong­est team we could prob­a­bly play in terms of phys­i­cal abil­ity and we knew it would be very dif­fi­cult for them to score.

“The side of it we were a lit­tle wor­ried about was us get­ting on the score sheet.

“We needed David, Deano (Dean Ham­mond), Crofty (An­drew Crofts) and An­drea to pop up maybe with a goal and not leave all that job to Leo (Ul­loa). And it worked out!”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

BROTHERS IN ARMS: David Lopez cel­e­brates with An­drea Or­landi

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