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.
"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."