Credit McClaren for success, says Gibson

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The Independent Online

The Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, has defended his manager, Steve McClaren, against accusations that the club's success is built purely on money.

The Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, has defended his manager, Steve McClaren, against accusations that the club's success is built purely on money.

Gibson believes it is time that McClaren was given the credit he deserves for his role in the club's revival since he took over three-and-a-half years ago. After ending Boro's 128-year wait for silverware last season with a victory in the League Cup, McClaren has the club pushing for a Champions' League place.

Boro are also making strides in Europe, topping a Uefa Cup group which included Lazio, Partizan Belgrade and Villarreal. But the Boro chairman has been upset by suggestions that his financial backing is the main reason behind the Teessiders' success.

"Over the last couple of months I have read, with some humour, attempts by managers of other Premier League clubs to somehow water down Steve's achievements by suggesting he has had some sort of pot of gold to dip into as he pleased," Gibson said. "I was bemused to hear comments made by both Charlton manager Alan Curbishley and Harry Redknapp, when he was at Portsmouth, before our recent fixtures with their clubs. Both made a point of saying: 'Look at the money Steve has had.' I can't help thinking they were getting their excuses in early.

"In fact, Steve has always worked within the restraints of a strict financial policy and budget. Our players' wage bill now is less than it was when Steve joined us, whilst I would guess that Charlton's wage bill is no less than ours.

"So let's be proud of our manager and the success he has brought us. There is still much work to be done, but Middlesbrough supporters should be shouting their praise of Steve from the rooftops."

Joseph-Desire Job will consider a reluctant move away from Middlesbrough if his first-team chances continue to remain limited. McClaren opted to rest his first-choice strike pairing, Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, for Wednesday night's Uefa Cup game with Partizan Belgrade, instead selecting Job and Szilard Nemeth in attack. Job and Nemeth both proved they can still do a job at the Riverside, each scoring in a 3-0 victory to guarantee Boro top spot in Group E and, probably, an easier third-round draw, which will be made today.

Nemeth's opener was his first goal since 27 October, while Boro's second ended a near four-month drought for the Cameroon international Job, who had not found the net since the 5-3 defeat at Arsenal on 22 August. Job has managed only five starts since, as the summer arrivals of Hasselbaink and Viduka have resulted in the 27-year-old playing a bit-part role.

McClaren insisted after the game that Job and Nemeth have vital contributions to make at the club, and Nemeth maintains that he is happy to see out his contract, which has 18 months to run. But the same cannot be said for Job, a £3m signing from Lens four-and-a-half years ago, who could elect to leave as early as next month, when the transfer window reopens.

"My priority is to get into the first team and stay there because as a footballer I need to play, and I want to play," Job said. "When you don't play, it's hard. It's been very frustrating for me so far, but I will keep going, just as I did [on Wednesday] night."

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