New Boro boss targets promotion

Strachan stepped down at Celtic at the end of last seasonGordon Strachan has set his sights on guiding Middlesbrough back into the Premier League at the first attempt after being unveiled as their new manager on Monday.

The 52-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the Championship club and succeeds Gareth Southgate, who was sacked following last week’s victory over Derby.

Strachan returns to the game after leaving Celtic in the summer and is relishing the challenge of guiding Boro back into the top flight.

The former Coventry and Southampton boss takes over at the Riverside Stadium with Boro sitting fourth in the Championship table.

Asked if he believes promotion is an attainable target, Strachan said: “Of course I do. I feel I can make the people who I work with better, one way or another, and if I can do that we have a chance.

“At one point last week we were a point off the top of the league, but also two points off 10th place, so that’s how tight it is in this division.

“It’s an exciting division to come into. I was fortunate enough last week to watch QPR and Reading and the standard was excellent.”

Strachan revealed the reputation chairman Steve Gibson has for backing his managers was a major factor in his decision to replace Southgate.

He added: “First of all, I don’t need to be here and I don’t have to be here. I’m here because I want to be here.

“When I left Celtic I told anyone close to me that it will be very, very difficult for me to retrace my steps in terms of jobs and the excitement I had at Celtic.

“I felt it had to be something different and I’ve got a chance of something different here.

“I know who the chairman is, I know where the money comes from. I know you get time and with the stability of the club you have a chance here to develop things the way you would like to see it develop.

“Developing younger players, making the better players better, these things attracted me to the job.”

Gibson and chief executive Keith Lamb came in for criticism for sacking Southgate shortly after giving his post-match press conference following the victory over Derby.

But Lamb said: “My job is to do what is best for Boro. Gareth served the club well as a player, captain and a manager. I only have good things to say about Gareth.

“We dealt with the situation as best as we could. It was never going to be easy asking Gareth to leave.”

The Author

Kevin Coleman

Founder and co-editor of Back Page Football and current host of our 'Three At The Back' weekly podcast.

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