Cup offers Southgate relief from miserable league run

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Gareth Southgate, the Middlesbrough manager, says he is focused on reaching a second Wembley final in the side's history when they face West Ham in the FA Cup today. The former England defender insists he is not fearful that he could be sacked following a run of 13 Premier League games without a win.

After a turbulent time in the top flight, in which Luiz Felipe Scolari and Tony Adams have been sacked by Chelsea and Portsmouth respectively, Southgate (left) has no fears about following them. "I have just been on a course with other managers and by the time it finished two had been sacked and another [Joe Kinnear] ended up in hospital. You have to accept the nature of the game you are in," he said.

"But at the same time you learn to take it with a pinch of salt. Not long ago everyone was hailing Scolari. He has outstanding pedigree and has won the World Cup. If it [being sacked] happens to him, it can happen to anybody."

"Gianfranco Zola at West Ham was under pressure after a poor run. Now he's being tipped to take over at Chelsea. That's how things can change in football, that's what hype does."

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