Monday 11 December 2017

Agnew still upbeat despite bleak outlook for Boro

Bournemouth 4-0 Middlesbrough

Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Photo: Reuters
Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Photo: Reuters

Independent.ie Sportdesk

Middlesbrough's interim head coach Steve Agnew rued the appalling start that led to their defeat at Bournemouth, but says they will immediately begin to plot a route to survival.

Despite losing Marten de Roon to injury and seeing Gaston Ramirez sent off as they fell nine points from safety, Agnew is adamant they have not given up. Their performance at the Vitality Stadium, in which they were uncharacteristically poor in defence, left them in 19th, and their five remaining fixtures are against Sunderland, Manchester City, Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool.

Middlesbrough's Adam Clayton looks dejected after the match. Photo: Reuters
Middlesbrough's Adam Clayton looks dejected after the match. Photo: Reuters

However, Agnew, who has overseen four defeats and two draws since his appointment, said: "It's very emotional. There's lots of angry players, lots of emotional players, as there is staff. We'll all be in tomorrow morning and address the situation.

"We have to be realistic. It's a huge, huge challenge, but all we can do is dust ourselves down and get ready for Sunderland (on Wednesday). Every game we need a win. We remain as positive as we can be. In many ways, we lost the game in the first 10 minutes. That's not like us. It was really, really poor defending."

Referencing the shock death on Friday of club favourite Ugo Ehiogu, he added: "What a sad, sad day. Our condolences go to the family; the supporters were amazing again."

The result, secured by two first-half goals from Joshua King and Benik Afobe and those in the second from Marc Pugh and Charlie Daniels, lifted Bournemouth to 12th and on to 38 points - seven above the bottom three.

Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas in action with Middlesbrough's George Friend. Photo: Reuters
Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas in action with Middlesbrough's George Friend. Photo: Reuters

Their manager Eddie Howe, though, insists their Premier League status is not yet safe, and urged them to surpass last season's points total of 42. "We're closing in on that total. If we can play like we did today we'll be fine," he said.

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