Southgate braced for departures

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Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate expects to lose his top players in the wholesale changes that will come following relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Boro crashed out of the top flight following Sunday's 2-1 defeat by West Ham at Upton Park and Southgate, who wants to remain as boss, is bracing himself to sell the likes of Tuncay Sanli and Stewart Downing.

"Inevitably, there will be big changes to the playing squad," Southgate said. "There will be personal agendas and as a club we will have to bring some money in to go forward. There are also situations I want to change."

Southgate hopes to be given the opportunity to get Boro back into the top flight.

"I have to accept there will be a large percentage of fans that would want a change of manager and this is a tough time for this football club but I am determined to see this fight through," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, you don't walk away in difficult times, you stand firm and fight back. We'll do that as a club. The chairman decides what happens ultimately but I would not contemplate turning that challenge down.

"Nothing has been discussed with the chairman, we have to sit down this week and plan more definitely what is going to happen. It will be a tough challenge and we'll have to improve.

"We're ready to make those changes because it clearly hasn't worked this year."

Southgate has not got a big wage bill - most players will remain on their current contracts if they stay - and he feels the club could return financially healthier.

"We might end up stronger for making sure we get our finances in order over the next few months," he said. "It might leave us in a healthier position to move forward."

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Stewart Downing
Tuncay Sanli
Premier League
Gareth Southgate

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