‘We’ll fight for each other’

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

BAT­TLING Boro are united and steeled for the rel­e­ga­tion scrap in­sists de­fi­ant Adam Clay­ton.

“There are no chinks in our ar­mour,” said the tough-tack­ling mid­field an­chor­man.

Wem­b­ley dreams were dashed as Ai­tor Karanka’s side were given the runaround in a 2-0 FA Cup quar­ter­fi­anl de­feat to big boys Manch­ester City at the River­side on Satur­day.

Now the trou­bled team must fo­cus on the Premier League sur­vival bat­tle - and an­chor­man Clay­ton be­lieves Boro will suc­ceed be­cause of the strong bond within the group.

And he added that last sea­son’s tur­moil and ten­sion will serve them well in the rel­e­ga­tion run-in.

“There are no chinks in­side the group,” he in­sisted. “There are no chinks be­tween Ai­tor and the team.

“I don’t think it can get any harder than it was at the end of last sea­son. That was a tough, tough time. Ten games to go with the palaver that went on. But then went six un­beaten and got across the line.

“The strength in this group, the to­geth­er­ness, what we have been through … I tweeted the other day that when you go through things in life with peo­ple, you get stronger.

“I don’t think there is a tighter group. I have made friends for life here now in Gibbo (Ben Gib­son), Grant (Lead­bit­ter), Stewy (Down­ing) and peo­ple like that. It is one of, if not the, tight­est dress­ing room I have ever been in.”

Clay­ton, who signed a new fouryear deal last week, ad­mit­ted that as well as the friend­ship there have been ten­sions and rows over the course of a tur­bu­lent cam­paign - but that has made the drive to fight and suc­ceed stronger.

“The amount of things we have been through to­gether, the ar­gu­ments we have had, the amount of love that ev­ery­one has given each other, hon­estly, there are so many ups and downs in a sea­son, the amount of things that go on, they have all made us a very strong group,” he ex­plained.

“We just need to get that win to spark it and try to turn ev­ery­thing that is a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive.

“And we will never stop fight­ing. That will never hap­pen. As long as we have a chance we will keep graft­ing away.

“We just have to turn one of these per­for­mances into a re­sult and who knows where it will take us.”

Against City Boro leaked an early goal and they were out­classed in the end but Clay­ton was keen to take pos­i­tives af­ter the team never stopped fight­ing or work­ing.

“We wanted to stop them play­ing out,” he said.

“We started to catch them af­ter 20-25 min­utes and cre­ated a few good chances.

“Un­for­tu­nately we just couldn’t get it over the line, they are one of the best teams in the world, they keep the ball away from you so well.

“When you do get your chances you need to tuck them away and we didn’t do that. It was a dif­fi­cult sec­ond half to be fair.

“But heads never dropped. That shows the char­ac­ter we have in the dress­ing room.

“The fact we stayed in the game and went on the front foot and had chances is tes­ta­ment to the group and how hard we work.

“We were try­ing. If we could have nicked a goal it might have been dif­fer­ent but they are a top team and killed the game off the sec­ond half.”

Clay­ton vowed to sup­port­ers that the team will not give up.

“It’s im­por­tant to show the fans we are still fight­ing,” he said. “We will never stop. The fans were top qual­ity, they were loud and kept us go­ing. When we were on the front foot they were right be­hind us. Even when City scored they didn’t stop singing for a good 10 min­utes.

“We know they are be­hind us. And we are right up for the fight, so we will keep go­ing.”

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