Belfast Telegraph

Upbeat Downing keeping the faith in Boro's bid to dodge the drop

Middlesbrough 0 Burnley 0

By Damian Spellman

Stewart Downing is refusing to give up hope that home-town club Middlesbrough can grasp a lifeline and drag themselves out of the relegation mire.

Saturday's 0-0 draw with Burnley left the Teessiders six points adrift of safety, but Downing is convinced they can still escape the drop.

He said: "Other teams are still losing, we get a point - I know we're a point closer and we could have done with three, but there's a long way to go yet, a lot of twists and turns.

"We have got big teams to come here, but do they fancy coming here? Well, we'll soon find out. We generally play well against the top teams, so I'm looking forward to it.

"It's a big challenge, we know that, we know what we need to do, so we just carry on and the positives from today we take into the Arsenal game."

Boro's plight might have looked slightly healthier had two key moments in Saturday's game not gone against them.

Burnley's Michael Keane may count himself fortunate not to have been sent off after felling Patrick Bamford as he homed in on goal with Matthew Lowton clearing Downing's resulting free-kick off the line.

But earlier, keeper Tom Heaton had produced a stunning reaction save to claw out Alvaro Negredo's blistering volley.

Downing said: "I just tried to get half a yard on the lad, it's gone over [Ben] Mee and I'm just thinking, 'Alvaro, if he gets a connection, it's probably in', and he made an unbelievable save.

"He is a very good keeper and you can see why they get a lot of points because of probably him keeping them in games at times."

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