Steve Agnew wants Middlesbrough manager job on permanent basis

Steve Agnew
Steve Agnew spent spent 27 months as Aitor Karanka’s understudy

Middlesbrough head coach Steve Agnew says he wants the manager's job at the Riverside on a permanent basis.

The 51-year-old took charge of Boro for the first time after Aitor Karanka's sacking as they lost 3-1 to Manchester United at the Riverside on Sunday.

Boro owner Steve Gibson said before the Premier League match that Agnew could be "the glue to unify us completely".

Asked if staying in charge was what he wanted, Agnew said: "Of course. It's a club I have a big affection for."

Speaking to BT Sport, he added: "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."

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Agnew praises 'excellent' Boro attitude

Karanka was sacked on Thursday after three and a half years at the club, with Boro in the relegation zone and without a win in 10 Premier League matches.

They fell 2-0 behind on Sunday to goals from Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard, before substitute Rudy Gestede pulled one back with Boro's first league goal for 509 minutes.

But Victor Valdes' late slip allowed Antonio Valencia to tap in late on and seal United's victory.

"I think the second goal is what set us back a little bit," said Agnew. "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."

Agnew said it was "a relief" to see the team end their Premier League goal drought.

"When we got that goal, we had Manchester United defending in the box for their lives," he added.

"We didn't quite get the bounce of the ball to get the equaliser, which on the balance of play I thought we deserved."

Rudy Gestede
Rudy Gestede joined Middlesbrough from Aston Villa in January

Speaking before the game, Gibson had hinted Agnew could be Karanka's long-term successor as manager.

He told the club's website: "I hope he's here this time next year or the year after.

"He is a very good coach, a deep thinker, has 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."

Gibson, who believes the Boro squad is good enough to stay up, also paid tribute to Karanka, who guided the club back into the top flight at the end of last season.

"He's a great guy and he's part of our history," said Gibson. "He achieved something very difficult.

"We are better because of him and I hope he is better because of the experience. We wish him all the very best. He deserves a good future in the game."

As It Stood

3Man City28176554302457
5Man Utd271410342231952
8West Brom29127103938143
12West Ham2996144052-1233
16Crystal Palace2884163646-1028
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