Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray admits he has had little choice but to go back to basics as he tries to revive the club's fortunes.
Relegation from the Premier League two seasons ago and the prospect of a third Championship campaign meant high-earners David Wheater and Gary O'Neil had to go during the January transfer window, and there are likely to be further departures at the end of the season.
Mowbray said: "The analogy I would generally give is cutting down a bush, a big tree that is overgrown. You have to cut it down, get it back to a base and let it grow again."
He added: "We are not cutting the tree off at the base and just leaving a stump in the ground, we are trying to prune the bush down before it can start growing again.
"But in football management, you have got to win games as you are doing it.
"We are trying to weaken our team, continue to win games, stay in this league, then grow back again and be a team that's a real force in this league, hopefully get back to the Premier League.
"Then in the right manner spend the money well on good players, stay in the league, get the resources and hopefully Middlesbrough in however many years' time can get back to where it was for so many years."
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