Steve Agnew praises "amazing" effort and attitude of his Middlesbrough team in Arsenal defeat

Middlesbrough interim manager Steve Agnew praised the "amazing" effort and attitude of the players, despite their winless streak in the Premier League being extended to 15 matches with Monday's 2-1 defeat to Arsenal.

Couldn't ask any more of them

It has been a very tough return to the English top-flight for the Teesside club, with Boro now sitting inside the relegation zone with six points separating themselves and safety.

Agnew was brought in as the replacement for the outgoing Aitor Karanka. Their has been an improvement in performances despite the results and they certainly gave Arsène Wenger's side something to think about at the Riverside Stadium.

They stood firm throughout the majority of the first period before Alexis Sánchez's excellent free-kick, Agnew's side cranked it up in the second period with Álvaro Negredo's equaliser right after the restart.

Daniel Ayala had an excellent chance cleared off the line which he lived to regret as Mesut Özil secured the winner, but Agnew was full of praise for his players and their performances.

"The players were amazing in terms of their effort, commitment and attitude towards the game," Agnew told his post-match press conference. "We played with such an intensity I couldn’t ask any more of them."

He explained: "I think that was the moment you know because we've been waiting for it for a few weeks. I just felt that when we scored we had Arsenal on the back foot."

"We pushed them back and your just thinking the ball’s going to bounce in the right area," the coach added. "Danny’s done everything right and the ball gone right down the line of Petr Cech."

Every game is crucial

Only six games remain for Agnew to try and keep Boro afloat, but with three of those been against sides that currently sit in the top four the task could prove too much for the Teesside outfit.

The next two matches could prove vital for the side against Bournemouth and local rivals Sunderland, both sides are in a very similar position but Agnew insisted that every game is crucial at this stage of the season no matter the opponent.

"Obviously we’ve missed an opportunity," he said. "We all realise the task ahead but equally were six points off it a game in hand and a terrific goal difference."

"Every game is crucial like tonight’s game was crucial, Bournemouth is crucial," Agnew added. "That’s what we’ll do we will prepare for Bournemouth and go down there with plenty of confidence."