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Southgate eyes up shock

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Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate is confident his side can pull off a shock result to get their survival campaign back on track.

The Teessiders saw two precious points slip from their grasp as they were held 0-0 at the Riverside Stadium by Fulham on Saturday and their next two fixtures are a trip Arsenal and then a home game against Manchester United.

But Southgate believes his side can produce a surprise similar to the one that saw them beat Liverpool 2-0 and said: "We have to win a game that we are not expected to in the next few - we said that prior to the game against Liverpool."

He added: "We have got players who can deliver, but for me when I look at the next two fixtures, there is no pressure on us in those two fixtures, although we understand the importance of them.

"The players have just got to go out and have a go at them and keep ourselves in there with a fighting chance, and there's no reason why we can't do that."

Southgate is realistic enough to know that points are more likely to be forthcoming from the club's final three fixtures, a potential winner-takes-all visit to Newcastle on May 11, Aston Villa's visit to Teesside the following weekend and the season's finale at West Ham.

But he remains convinced that the spirit and commitment his young squad has shown in the depths of an ongoing crisis means they still have a chance of staving off a fate which seemed inevitable before they dragged Hull back into the scrap.

Southgate said: "We will leave here thinking it was a game we needed to win, but we are not out of it.

"It might prove to be costly, but I don't think Saturday's performance is the reason why we are where we are by any means, and it won't be a performance that has cost us in the long run.

"The commitment shown, the way that we played, was commendable from everybody. I couldn't have ask any more of the players in the last two matches."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Fulham
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Gareth Southgate
Aston Villa
Middlesbrough
Hull City
Liverpool

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