Gareth Southgate believes Middlesbrough must remain true to their policy of investing in local young talent even if they are relegated from the Premier League.
Middlesbrough go into the home clash with Aston Villa three points adrift of safety with just two games to go, with many supporters blaming Southgate's decision to sell several experienced players for their troubles.
George Boateng, Luke Young and keeper Mark Schwarzer departed last summer, following Jonathan Woodgate, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Mark Viduka out of the Boro door, but Southgate insists he had little option.
The Middlesbrough manager said: "In an ideal world you would bring your young players through the ranks and financially for clubs like ourselves that is the future because it is impossible to compete with the billionaires coming into the league.
"If you get 20 billionaires, three are still going to get relegated, so there has to be a sense of how you build a football club for its long-term survival.
"We will continue to invest in the academy and what we have to do is ensure the quality of player coming through is good enough to play at the highest level."