Chairman rounds on McClaren's detractors

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The Independent Football

McClaren has found himself under the spotlight since Sunday's 2-0 derby defeat by Sunderland. However, Gibson, the man who appointed McClaren as Bryan Robson's successor during the summer of 2001, has called for a sense of perspective on the situation.

"I can't believe the doom and gloom which is being expressed in some quarters," he said. "Of course we would have preferred to have had more than eight points from the first seven games; of course we were very disappointed not to have beaten Sunderland on Sunday.

"If we had won, we would have gone sixth in the Premiership," Gibson added. "But we know that we have the quality within the squad to win games. We also have everything in place to take the club forward, and that involves everything from the Academy to Steve McClaren and his staff."

A disappointing start to the season has led some Boro supporters to question McClaren's tactics and ambitions. Yet Gibson is convinced of the manager's quality and his ability to turn the situation around.

"I think that some people looked for a scapegoat because we lost to Sunderland, and that's one of the diseases in football," he said. "But I understand the fans' frustrations. Everybody at the club felt the same way after that defeat. But you don't just wipe out all the hard work that has been put in at this club over the past five years because of one bad result.

"We know we are doing things the right way and in Steve McClaren we have a manager who can deliver, as he has done in the past. There are good reasons why Steve was taken on by Sir Alex Ferguson, by Jim Smith and as Sven Goran Eriksson's No 2 with England."

"It's because of his eye for detail, his experience at the highest level and also his ability as a manager," Gibson argued. "These are the reasons why he is manager of Middlesbrough. He's won the club's first major trophy and taken us to our highest place in the Premier League."

Gibson's comments came with the manager's new contract still unsigned, but he insisted there is nothing "sinister" in that.

"I have shaken hands with Steve over the details of his contract," he said. "We are still dotting the i's and crossing the t's but there is nothing sinister about the fact that it is not yet completed.

"Steve will sign the new contract as soon as everything is ready," Gibson claimed.

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