Tony Mowbray insisted he had not considered quitting as Middlesbrough’s 2013 nosedive continued with today’s 2-0 home defeat to Brighton.
Boro were twice caught on the break in the second half as first Andrea Orlandi then David Lopez struck to fire Brighton back into the play-off places after a wobble.
Boro have slipped from second spot at the turn of the year to tenth and now sit just six points off the drop zone after a run of just eight points from a possible 51 this year.
But Mowbray said he was not considering walking away.
“I’m a fighter,” he said. “I’m not someone who gives in. It is not something I have considered.
“We know the situation we are in isn’t great. We know this recent run of results have not been good enough. Everyone at the club is bitterly disappointed about the situation.
“But my nature is to dig in. It is my job to put things right. Ultimately you have to ask the chairman about my situation but he is from Teesside like me and I am sure it is in his nature to dig in too.”
Mowbray insisted that today’s game was far from one-sided.
“If anything I thought we were the better side in the first half,” he said. “But we gambled in the second half and pushed more men forward and we got punished.”
Brighton boss Gus Poyet was delighted to be back in the play-off positions and praised his side for stepping up a gear after the break.
“We had to inject our own passion,” he said. “In the first half the games was very slow and the ground was very quiet and sometimes that can creep into your head and into your game.
“We were comfortable in the first half but we needed more. I told then to go and create their own passion, to make their own tempo and they did that and it made a difference.
“I knew that if we could only get the first goal it would be better for us. With the players we had on the pitch it makes it very hard for Middlesbrough to score a goal.”
Brighton moved up to fifth place but Poyet is not taking anything for granted.
“We are in the play-off places again but to be truthful I am not looking at the table or at other results,” he said. “We have to only look after ourselves.
“We are in their now and if we win our remaining games we will stay there.”
Both teams picked and probed and tested each other out in a low-tempo first half with Boro having the best of the few real chances.
Richard Smallwood had a 20-yard low effort saved and a Scott McDonald shot hit Gordon Greer and looped wide, then on 41 minutes Andy Halliday lashed just wide from inside the box.
But Brighton looked sharper on the break after the interval and twice went close before finally breaking the deadlock.
They went ahead on the hour as defender Dean Hammond got down the right and squared for the unmarked Andrea Orlandi to crash the ball into the roof of the net from six yards.
And, as Boro pushed forward, Brighton broke to score a killer second goal after 76 minutes.
A quick ball from Liam Bridcutt sent David Lopez surging forward unmarked to the edge of the box and he chipped over advancing goalkeeper Jason Steele.
* Full report in the Football Echo out tomorrow morning.