Middlesbrough supporting McClaren despite poor start

The Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren, has the full backing of the club as he attempts to drag his side out of the relegation zone.

Boro slipped into the bottom three of the Premiership after Saturday's home defeat by Newcastle, leading the manager's critics to question his ability to steer his side in the right direction. But the club's chief executive, Keith Lamb, insisted yesterday that McClaren has 100 per cent support.

"Steve McClaren is the best man for the job," he said. "There is no question about that. He is an excellent coach. He is a good manager and he is hungry for success.

"Of course there is some concern. Steve McClaren is concerned and the players are concerned. But everybody is working to put it right and the players we have got are capable of scoring goals in the Premiership.

"It's all about getting the right blend and the rub of the green. We didn't get that against Newcastle on Saturday.

"But I believe the squad is strong enough and good enough to get us into the top half of the table. This is a sticky patch which we will get over. This will be a good season for Middlesbrough Football Club."

McClaren arrived at the Riverside Stadium with an impressive pedigree after his time at Derby and Manchester United, and further enhanced his reputation with England as part of Sven Goran Eriksson's coaching staff. Boro invested in his coaching expertise and remain confident that he can handle the wider responsibilities of management.

"If you get the coaching right, then the managing follows automatically," Lamb said. "When Bryan Robson left the club, it was because we felt we needed someone with a better coaching background. That's why we brought in Steve McClaren. If you ask any of the players, they are delighted with the coaching they receive here.

"We're all disappointed with some of the early results, but once the players cross that white line, then it's not Steve McClaren who wins or loses the matches. But we are in football for the good times and the bad times. I think we have a good squad of players and a good squad of coaches."

Boro's defeat at the weekend was their fourth at home in five Premiership outings so far this season, and they head for Tottenham on Sunday desperate for points to claw their way up the table.

McClaren has worked hard to reshape his squad during the 28 months since he replaced Robson at the helm. He recently recruited the Spaniard Gaizka Mendieta on loan from Lazio and the Dutchman Boudewijn Zenden on loan from Chelsea.

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