Cape Town - Middlesbrough
caretaker coach Steve Agnew is keen to be handed the full-time reigns
at the club and appears to have the backing of chairman Steve Gibson.
The 51-year-old former Barnsley, Sunderland and York City midfielder,
who has coached at Gateshead, Leeds United, Hartlepool United and Hull
City, is in his third spell with Boro - having previously taken up a
caretaker role when Gordon Strachan resigned, in 2010. He was handed the
position this time following the sacking of Aitor Karanka.
And speaking after an impressive performance, despite losing, in the
3-1 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, Agnew revealed he is keen on
the challenge of helping the club avoid relegation.
He told BT Sport: "Of course. It's a club I have a big affection for.
"It's a pleasure to be in charge of the team and see them respond. I
know we'll take that fighting spirit for the rest of the season."
Marouane Fellaini (30) and Jesse Lingard (62) were both on target at
the Riverside before substitute Rudy Gestede ensured a tense finale with
his 77th minute strike - until Antonio Valencia sealed the win, as a
result of a slip by Boro stopper Victor Valdes.
Agnew added: "I think the second goal is what set us back a little
bit. I couldn't be more proud of the players, the fighting spirit they
showed, and the crowd was top-class.
"If we show that commitment and that sort of intensity until the end
of the season then we have a real chance of staying in this league."
Gibson had earlier told the club's official website: "Steve will have
full autonomy as first-team coach. I hope he's here this time next year
or the year after.
"He has a lot of qualities. He is a very good coach, a deep thinker,
loads of experience, knows this club, is a man of integrity and the
players trust and like him.
"I've known him a long, long time and he's a smashing lad. I think he can be the glue to unify us completely."