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Southgate anticipates battle of nerves
Published : 07 May 2009 14:37:00
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has admitted the fight for Premier League survival could come down to who best holds their nerve. The Teessiders head into a potentially decisive derby trip to Newcastle on Monday evening knowing defeat for either side could all but see them relegated, and a draw could prove near-fatal to both sides. For both Southgate and opposite number and former England team-mate Alan Shearer, the stakes could hardly be higher, although they are not alone. West Brom boss Tony Mowbray knows defeat at home to Wigan would see his club effectively relegated regardless of what happens elsewhere, while Hull face a must-win home clash with Stoke and Sunderland travel to Bolton in severe danger of being sucked back into the mire. Southgate, who experienced the nightmare of relegation during his playing days at Crystal Palace, is acutely aware his young players will face a major test of character as the season draws to a tense conclusion. He said: "That will be important, but we have to get results, we have got to score goals and we have got to play well. Holding your nerve is important - there will be some big atmospheres to cope with, some big matches to play in. "Going out and performing and being able to perform under pressure will be key, definitely."