Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

O'Neil Won't Counter Boos; Boro Midfielder Can See Why Club's Fans Upset

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

O'Neil Won't Counter Boos; Boro Midfielder Can See Why Club's Fans Upset

Article excerpt

M IDDLESBROUGH'S lowest league crowd at the Riverside booed their team off at half-time and full-time of Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Leicester City. But rather than condemn the Teesside public for their angry outbursts, Gary O'Neil agreed with them, writes STUART RAYNER.

Tuesday's reverse extended Boro's poor run of form to one point from a possible nine. Although the young team can consider themselves unfortunate not to have won both of the last two matches, O'Neil was in no mood to turn on the dissenters.

"If I'd have been watching the first half, I'd have booed as well," he said. "We were just as disappointed at half-time as they were. We're no different to them, we want to win as well.

"The second half, a lot of it's on emotion.

We lost a game at home to Leicester - they were in League One last year, we were in the Premier League. A lot of people see that as a massive disappointment, which it is. If you take the second half on its own, we were the far better side, we were in control. It felt to me like matter of when the goal was going to come, then we get hit by a little bit of sloppy defending and a deflection.

"It's just one of those spells. We need to stick together and make sure we grind through it. But the fans have been different class. They've gone through a lot of bad times recently and they still turn out in numbers."

The home supporters' disenchantment extended to joining in when the Foxes fans sang "You're getting sacked in the morning" to Boro manager Gareth Southgate. That Boro's next match, against Reading, is away from the Riverside - where the miserable sequence began with a 5-0 defeat - might be seen as a good thing by some, but not midfielder O'Neil.

"Our away form has been good and Saturday's a chance for us to get three points because we're set up fairly well to play away from home but I'd rather play at home," he said. …

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