Middlesbrough would have the same problem as Sunderland and can't afford to be relegated says Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock says Middlesbrough simply can’t afford to be relegated this season and believes the club would face similar problems to Sunderland in League One.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

Boro are two points above the Championship drop zone with three games to play ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Reading.

There are just four points separating 17th-place Stoke and 22nd-place Hull, while Wigan will also be plunged back into trouble due to their 12-point deduction for going into administration.

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Yet despite admitting he has looked at the end-of-season run-ins, Warnock says his side have to try and focus on themselves at a crucial time in the club’s history.

“I just think you have to just worry about yourself,” said Warnock in his pre-match press conference via Zoom. “I can’t say I haven’t looked at the fixtures because I have but when you look at the fixtures it confuses you even more.

"It’s just a matter of trying to get enough points from the games we have left that will take us to safety and then it will be decided at the club what happens for future years.

“It’s an important three games in the club’s history really, we just can’t afford to get relegated but we are in that pack with everyone else and I know how easy it is to be down there.”

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Warnock says he hasn’t discussed the worst case scenario of relegation with chairman Steve Gibson, yet the Boro boss is well aware of the implications.

North East neighbours Sunderland were demoted to the third tier in 2018 and are now set for a third-straight season in League One.

“Well the problem Sunderland have is the same problem Middlesbrough would have, is that every team comes to your stadium and it’s like Wembley,” added Warnock.

“The atmosphere, the crowds, you all want to play above yourselves and that’s what makes it harder for clubs like Sunderland, Middlesbrough, et cetera to come straight back up.

“Players do lift themselves 20-30 per cent and it’s hard enough at that level without people playing above themselves against you.

“I do realise how difficult it is.”