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Middlesbrough-v-Burnley-Premier-League.jpg

Agnew urges Boro to unite and fight against Arsenal as they search for a miracle to beat the drop

Date Posted,April 16, 2017

Steve Agnew is convinced Middlesbrough can maintain the North-East’s recent record of miracle Premier League relegation escapes.

Neighbours Sunderland have developed a reputation for coming alive at this time of year by staging improbable late-season rallies to cheat the drop in each of the last FOUR seasons.

But with David Moyes’ rock bottom side nine points adrift and seemingly doomed, it’s left to their regional rivals Boro to carry the area’s Houdini hopes. The second-bottom Teessiders are in major trouble themselves, six points from safety after a four-month, 14-game winless streak that sees them in danger of an immediate return to the Championship following promotion last May.

Agnew has taken inspiration from Sunderland’s acts of escapology, and a similar amazing feat by another of his old clubs Leicester City the season before they became Premier League Champions last year. Boro host Arsenal on Monday, and the caretaker boss said: “You can get improbable results and late rallies at this time of the year. It’s happened in recent seasons with both Sunderland and Leicester.

Agnew is hoping to inspire Boro to an improbable escape from relegation (Photo: Nigel Roddis)

“They have shown that with one win, like the one we’ve been waiting for, it can literally change lots of things and it can also affect other teams around you in the table as well. That’s what we’re aim to do. There is no fear within this group of players, they’re ready for Arsenal, and we know we need to win a game sooner rather than later so all our efforts continue to be geared towards that.”

As a rookie starting out in management, the 51-year-old insists he can’t understand the on-going criticism from angry Gunners fans aimed at boss Arsene Wenger, who is at the opposite end of the career spectrum. “It’s the nature of the beast, but some of the flak aimed at Arsene is way over the top,” he added.

Adam Forshaw in action with Burnley's George Boyd
Adam Forshaw in action with Burnley’s George Boyd (Photo: REUTERS)
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