Middlesbrough boss Southgate fears sack

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate claims he is under no illusions and expects to be sacked should the club become embroiled in a relegation dogfight.

Chairman Steve Gibson has backed the rookie boss despite a lack of consistency in his first season and defended Southgate from criticism that he did not have the necessary qualifications to lead a top-flight club.

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"If things were going wrong, I'm sure Steve Gibson would act as swiftly as he does in his own business, but he is realistic," he told the Middlesbrough Gazette.

"He doesn't expect us to be a Champions League team in 18 months. That gives you time to plan and get your head above the water.

"Last year was fire-fighting, trying to fix things as I went along. Only towards the end of the season was it possible to plan ahead.

"I've got more belief in myself now. And the one thing I know here is that no-one inside the club is against me. The whole club is very much united.

"It was brave of him to appoint a novice and I am still grateful. It's a strength for us that we have a chairman who comes from the town and who wants to give something back."

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