Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Are Not Taking a Risk with Our Young Starlets; BORO Are Attempting to Win Promotion with One of the Youngest Teams in the Football League. What Are the Prospects? Gareth Southgate Reveals His Thoughts in the Final Part of Our Exclusive Interview with the Gazette's ERIC PAYLOR

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Are Not Taking a Risk with Our Young Starlets; BORO Are Attempting to Win Promotion with One of the Youngest Teams in the Football League. What Are the Prospects? Gareth Southgate Reveals His Thoughts in the Final Part of Our Exclusive Interview with the Gazette's ERIC PAYLOR

Article excerpt

Q: Do you think it's a gamble to try to win promotion with a team with an average age of 23? A: We wanted to strengthen the squad further if at all possible, but we weren't able to buy people at the end of the transfer window (notably Rob Hulse).

But we are not taking risks with any of the players we have been using.

There's an energy and a vibrancy about the squad. The desire is good and these players are all here for the right reasons.

We have a group of players who all feel they will have the opportunity to play, and that's another good thing.

As coaches, we realise that we still have a lot of work to do with them.

The two late goals that we conceded at Coventry was a clear indication of the fact they are still young and we know what we have to work on.

But they have a tremendous work ethic and hunger and they all want to do well in their careers.

They also want to get the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt.

We have been able to create an atmosphere at the club that we just didn't have last season. Q: Would you have preferred to be in the top two at this stage, instead of outside it? A: I don't think any team is going to walk away with this league. That's never going to be the case.

People talk about Newcastle, but they have drawn their last two games.

West Brom haven't won since they won here.

We shouldn't get carried away by individual results. There will be a lot of ups and downs before the end of the season.

Established Championship clubs like Sheffield United, Cardiff and Preston have a lot of good players in their ranks.

We mustn't think we are going to be miles better than them because that's not the case.

If we are totally committed throughout the next eight months then we will be there or thereabouts.

Our target remains the same. We want to win the league. But we know that it will be tight all the way until May.

So we will never look any further ahead than the next game.

Q: Do you have a squad which is more suited towards playing away rather than at home? A: We've been brilliant away from home and nobody can argue about that. …

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