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Despite drop threat, Southgate insists Middlesbrough making progress

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate insists the club has continued to improve this season, despite their likely relegation.

"The natural assumption when you've been at a club a length of time is that the development should always be upwards," said Southgate.

"I certainly know that I'm a better manager now than when I got the job three years ago, but we finished 12th in my first year and we're 19th now. Have we developed? I'd say 'Yes we have'.

"We have a very different scenario in terms of the size and experience of the squad and the finance. Our wage bill was probably mid-table when I took the job and it's now bottom five.

"In transfer investment, we were net nil this summer. You can't overlook the impact that has. But I don't like to make excuses and there'll be lessons learned about how I've dealt with certain situations this year that will be with me forever.

"And I know exactly what has to be done. There's a link between results and finance but that's not trying to deflect from any responsibility I have. I'm the manager and I take responsibility ultimately for the position we're in."

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