Marlon King recognises the frustrations of Middlesbrough fans but insists the only way to avoid Premier League relegation is to win ugly.
Boro are perilously poised in the bottom three, sitting two points from safety with a worse goal difference than the majority of their survival rivals, but snatched what could prove a vital 1-1 share of the spoils with fellow strugglers Portsmouth on Saturday.
Manager Gareth Southgate hit back at followers following the weekend result, in which King hit a scrappy injury-time leveller after Matthew Bates had been sent off, as members of The Riverside crowd let their disapproval of a run of one win in 17 games be known.
And while King acknowledges the opinion of fans, the striker is adamant that an inexperienced Boro side have little choice but to grind out points if they are to remain in the top flight.
He told the club's official website: "When you are down at the bottom, it's got to look ugly at times to grind out results, and that's what we did.
"We have got a lot of young lads with talent, but not that many with a wealth of experience, and you have got to support each other.
"I know sometimes the fans get frustrated. But all we can do is concentrate on what's happening on the field.
"I have been in a relegation battle before and with nine games to go, we just have to grind out points."