Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has demanded his players lift themselves from the pain of their latest agonising defeat if they are to avoid the ultimate hurt of relegation.
With the club three points from safety and with a far inferior goal difference, it appears certain Boro will have to win their final two games, at home to Aston Villa on Saturday and at West Ham on the final day.
"We owe it to the fans to put on a performance against Villa, do everything possible to win the game, and keep ourselves in the melting pot," said Southgate.
Monday's 3-1 loss at Newcastle has left Boro dangerously close to demotion to the Coca-Cola Championship and Southgate must try and rally his troops again as they lick their wounds from the loss to the Magpies.
"The Newcastle game was tough and it has taken a lot out of the players," Southgate told the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette.
"But they have to lift themselves while there is still a chance, we have to keep going. We have a lot of proud young kids in our team, but they are still very raw.
"They are desperate to be involved in a winning side, and they have still a chance to do that.
"Monday's pain will take time to heal, but we have to give our supporters two final performances to be proud of.
"We have to win on Saturday and we have to make sure we are ready. It's our job as coaches to make sure they are fully primed for the Villa game.
"It's still possible, however slim the prospects. If we beat Villa, then we will take it to the last game of the season at West Ham. Then who knows what will happen?"
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