Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Standards Slip; but Southgate's Determined to Get Boro Back on Track PAYLOR ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOCCER SENSATIONS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Standards Slip; but Southgate's Determined to Get Boro Back on Track PAYLOR ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOCCER SENSATIONS

Article excerpt

Byline: ERIC PAYLOR

DISGRUNTLED Boro boss Gareth Southgate has left no doubts that he will not accept second best this season.

Southgate boss was not a totally happy man over the weekend, despite having watched his side grab a crucial late victory against ten-man Stoke City.

Southgate was disappointed that Boro did not perform to their normal standard, and revealed that he would take steps to try to ensure it didn't happen again.

Southgate said: "We didn't perform to our usual standard against Stoke and it's something I need to look at.

"It's unusual for us to sit back in the way we did, and I have to look at it.

"I suppose you could say that playing not so well and still winning is a good sign.

"But I will concentrate on the reasons why we didn't play as well as we could.

"The place to put it right is the training ground and that's what we will be doing."

Southgate has already left no doubts, in previous conversations with the Evening Gazette, that he has set very high standards for the new campaign.

Not only has he set a top ten target for the team, but he will be disappointed and annoyed if Boro fail in their bid.

He said: "We've got six points from nine and you could say that it is a good start.

"But I felt we could get seven points from the first three games, and we could have achieved that if we had been able to hang on at Liverpool.

"In fact I feel that we have been good value for seven points, but we didn't get them and I am a little bit disappointed about that.

"We have already set standards. I thought our performances in our first three games were excellent. But we have to maintain them."

Maybe Boro were knocked out of synch against Stoke because they were worrying too much about what the Potters might do to them with their long balls into the box.

But it's back to normal on Saturday week, with an away trip to Portsmouth likely to bring few surprises for the squad. …

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