Southgate has fear of axe in perspective

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Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate will not go into Saturday's FA Cup tie with West Ham feeling any pressure from the axe which may be hanging over his head.

After a run of 13 Barclays Premier League games without a win, the former England defender's sole aim will be to see off the Hammers and move a step nearer to a Wembley date and only the second major trophy in the club's history.

"I have just been on a course with other managers and by the time it finished two had been sacked and another (Joe Kinnear) ended up in hospital. You have to accept the nature of the game that you are in," Southgate said.

"But at the same time you learn to take it with a pinch of salt. Not long ago everyone was hailing Scolari.

"He has outstanding pedigree and has won the World Cup. If it (being sacked) happens to him, it can happen to anybody.

"Gianfranco Zola at West Ham was under pressure after a poor run. When we played them earlier in the season they couldn't win a game, though they played well.

"Now he's being tipped to take over at Chelsea. That's how things can change in football, that's what hype does."

"I accept that managers being sacked is part and parcel of the industry. If you accept that you are vulnerable it gives you strength, in a way.

"It galvanises you to make things want to work at your club. That's what I want to do."

And Southgate added with a smile: "Every Monday morning that I am still here I know that I have beaten the bookies."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Premier League
Gareth Southgate
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United
FA Cup

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