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Middlesbrough 0 City 2

Most of the journalists at The Riverside must have gathered with a 'Pearce sacked' story very much on their minds.

Yet I felt that despite a poor record at Middlesbrough and our recent dreadful run, we did have the opportunity to take something from the game, and so it panned out.

And it was members of the 'foreign contingent' of the squad - Distin and Mpenza, who earned the points with two second half goals. Distin's was pretty much gifted to him as a result of some shocking marking from a corner - and the celebrations following it gave no indication that there was any split evident in the camp. The second was well taken from Mpenza and was the sort of finish that has been lacking from the striking department this season.

Match highlights:



Press reaction in the wake of the win was very much focused on Pearce earning himself some more time in the job, although it was generally accepted that a Middlesbrough side with one eye on their FA Cup replay had not provided the sternest test. But, with Sheffield United losing and Wigan only picking a point up, the table - from a relegation perspective at least, looks a whole lot better.

Reaction:


"The results have not been good enough over the course of
the season for me and this football club.
"We know that, we are aware of
that and it is important for us to get some victories between now and the end of
the season.
"The players have had a really tough week both physically and
emotionally but we deserved to win.
"We probably deserved something from the
Chelsea game on Wednesday as well but we did not get it. But looking at the
game, it only looked like one side was going to win it."
-Stuart Pearce.


"I think the whole atmosphere was very flat, we didn't
create any spark and didn't play with any verve.
"Subconsciously, the players
were maybe looking towards Monday and, if I set the tone for that by making
changes, I have to take responsibility".
-Gareth Southgate.


"It was the first time I played with white boots. I
have had some stick in training, so I'm proud."
The centre-half is also
hoping the win will raise morale in the City squad, particularly after last
week's FA Cup exit to Blackburn Rovers. We will have to wait and see what's
going to happen. It's good to enjoy the moment and see what will happen
next.
"The mood could only be better than last week, so everything is fine at
the moment."
-Sylvain Distin.


Reports:

The Observer
Sky Sports
Daily Mail
BBC Sport