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Middlesbrough star targets Fulham victory

last updated Thursday 16th April 2009, 3:27 PM

Middlesbrough star Stewart Downing
Middlesbrough star
Stewart Downing
Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing targets Fulham win as key to survival.

Stewart Downing is convinced that Middlesbrough will have a “great chance” of escaping relegation if they beat Fulham on Saturday.

Boro’s stand-in captain was given reason to be cheerful by last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Hull and now he is calling for a repeat against Roy Hodgson’s team at the Riverside.

The England international said: “There was a lot of pressure on us last Saturday. We were playing at home, our fans were expecting a result, we needed to win and there was no getting away from that.

“I thought the performance was good on top of that but we know we have to do it all again against Fulham.

The lads were shattered at the end against Hull but we have to go again. We know if we win again we’ve got a really good chance.

“Will Boro stay up? Definitely. I seriously think if we can win on Saturday we’re in with a great chance.

“Fulham haven’t been too great away from home and won’t fancy coming here, especially after our result on Saturday. We’ve got to punish them.

“We’ve been in this situation a long time and a lot of people have written us off so it’s us against the world, but we’re up for it.

“It’s going to be tough. Fulham will be a hard game - Man United, Villa, teams like that - but we’re still confident. I think if we win on Saturday we’ve got a good chance.”

Downing said clear-the-air talks staged by manager Gareth Southgate, following a 4-1 hammering by Bolton, had been behind the sudden upturn in fortunes against Hull, when they won only their second game in 20 Premier League outings.

“Bolton was disappointing,” said Downing. “We lost, conceded four goals and if we defend like that we’ve got no chance.

“We had a meeting through the week, got everything off our chests and said ‘we’ve got to go for it, we’ve got nothing else to lose’.

“We also knew we needed to give the fans something to cheer because we’ve let them down on a lot of big occasions this season.

“The meeting was a good thing. The manager came out with what he wanted us to do. It wasn’t critical it was more ‘this is what we have to do and this is how we’re going to play’.

“From then on we’ve just got our heads down and got on with it. We can’t sulk about the situation we’re in. Saturday was a terrific response; we defended well, attacked quite well and passed the ball, which is always a plus. But it starts all over again against Fulham - it has to be done again.”

Source Rob Stewart at Daily Telegraph
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