‘Boro can avoid drop’

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

STEVE Agnew doesn’t know if he’ll be in charge of Boro at Swansea, but he does think the club can avoid the drop.

Mid­dles­brough put in a spir­ited per­for­mance against Manch­ester United, their first fix­ture fol­low­ing Ai­tor Karanka’s de­par­ture.

Jose Mour­inho’s side won 3-1.

It was a cruel blow but Agnew took great heart from Boro’s dis­play.

Asked if he though the club could stay up if they play with sim­i­lar spirit over the re­main­ing Pre­mier League fix­tures, he said: “Yes, ab­so­lutely.

“I think the per­for­mance was in­tense, it was ev­ery­thing you want in terms of com­mit­ment.

“Of course we’ve got to start win­ning foot­ball matches but I’ve been in this league be­fore and I know one game, one win, three points, can change ev­ery­thing.

“I have ev­ery con­fi­dence and ev­ery be­lief that all the work that goes in be­hind the scenes with the staff and with the play­ers that we have are more than ca­pa­ble of win­ning foot­ball matches.”

Sec­ond bot­tom Boro are next in ac­tion at Swansea City on April 2, a game that could go a long way to de­cid­ing the club’s Pre­mier League future.

The Swans are five points and two places bet­ter off than Agnew’s men but have played a game more.

Vic­tory at the Lib­erty Sta­dium would give the Teessiders a fight­ing chance of over­haul­ing City in the run-in.

Agnew, ap­pointed as head coach im­me­di­ately af­ter Karanka left the club, ad­mits he doesn’t know how long he’ll be in charge for.

He was asked in his post match press con­fer­ence whether he was due to sit down with Steve Gib­son to dis­cuss his future.

He an­swered: “I have no idea, I mean Manch­ester United was ev­ery­thing in my mind for the next two or three days and at the minute we’ve got a cou­ple of days off, there’s a few play­ers away on in­ter­na­tional duty and then we’ll be back in pre­par­ing for Swansea.”

Does he ex­pect to have a meet­ing in the next few days?

“Again, I can’t an­swer that ques­tion I’m just do­ing what I think will hap­pen this week.

“I’ve not had a con­ver­sa­tion with the chair­man so, again, all I think about, like I did with Manch­ester United, is Swansea, but I’ve got a lit­tle bit more time to think about it.”

Asked how dif­fi­cult the three days af­ter Karanka’s de­par­ture have been, he con­tin­ued: “It’s not been so much dif­fi­cult, it’s been a whirl­wind if you like, but it’s not been dif­fi­cult.

“I’ve en­joyed ev­ery minute of it and, OK, we’re not in this in­dus­try to lose foot­ball matches and that’s one thing I’m not in it for, I’m not a par­tic­u­larly good loser, but when I see a group of play­ers and a sta­dium of sup­port­ers re­act­ing like that to­gether, that gives us loads of op­ti­mism for the future.”

What Agnew does know is that his play­ers gave ev­ery­thing to the cause against Manch­ester United.

“Their at­ti­tude and ap­pli­ca­tion, the in­ten­sity they played the game at was first class.

“To push Manch­ester United all the way was some­thing that I was re­ally pleased with.”

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