Middlesbrough 1-3 Man Utd: Steve Agnew believes hosts can avoid the drop
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/03/17 7:29pm
Caretaker boss Steve Agnew insisted Middlesbrough showed enough against Manchester United in their 3-1 defeat to give him confidence they can stay up this season
Agnew was encouraged by a battling display, as Rudy Gestede's late goal set up a tense finish. It looked like United would cruise to victory after goals from Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard had put the visitors in command.
A late blunder from Victor Valdes gave United more breathing space in stoppage time, but it did not change Agnew's mind.
"To push Manchester United all the way was something that I was really pleased with," Agnew said. "At 2-0, that's when the players showed their fighting spirit. The crowd played a massive part.
"We deserved the goal and on the balance of play at the time although there wasn't long to go, I could only see us equalising.
"I have every confidence and every belief, all the work that goes in behind the scenes with the staff and the players, that we are more than capable of winning football matches.
"The performance was intense, it was everything you want in terms of commitment. Of course we have got to start winning football matches, but I have been in this league before and I know that one game, one win, three points can change everything."
The game was marred by an ugly melee after Gestede and defender Eric Bailly had clashed, and there was pushing and shoving in the tunnel after the final whistle.
"I've been asked that - and I was in early - I didn't see anything," Agnew added. "Obviously I'm picking up now that there's something gone on in the tunnel, but this group of players is so determined to start winning football matches that it's no concern to me."