Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has admitted the club lacked experience as it fought in vain for its Barclays Premier League life.

Manager Gareth Southgate was charged with the task of reducing the age profile of the squad and wage bill and moved on the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ugo Ehiogu, Ray Parlour, Abel Xavier and Gaizka Mendieta, while Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka and George Boateng chose to leave.

With transfer funds limited last summer, the Teessiders opted to rely heavily on their Academy graduates, and Gibson said: "We were probably too young this year and we lacked experience."

He added: "One of the first things Bryan Robson did when he joined us was bring in a leader in Nigel Pearson, and one of the first things Steve McClaren did when he joined the club was bring in Gareth Southgate.

"When we lost Nigel Pearson under Bryan Robson and we were relegated, we brought in Andy Townsend.

"We have perhaps missed that experience and the vacuum we perhaps had with older players leaving - and in making him manager, we lost Gareth from the changing room - we haven't replaced that.

"That's one of the things we have talked about and we think we need a solution to that.

"We need to bring in more experienced players. The age that we have gone this year, we will not do that again."

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