Swansea City v Middlesbrough: Chris Wilder admits he could have dealt better with Burnley links as he targets Premier League with Boro

FOR sections of Middlesbrough’s fanbase, the love-in with Chris Wilder hit the rocks earlier this week amid a fair bit of angst.

The first rough spell of a tenure which had previously been all sunshine and roses saw feverish rumours about the future of the Boro chief be fuelled by his failure on two occasions to distance himself from rumours linking him with the vacant Burnley post.

It unfortunately coincided with a untimely dip in results, with Wilder finally providing fans with reassurance over his position on Friday after meeting Steve Gibson the previous day.

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In the process, Wilder was also contrite regarding his own part in fanning the flames of speculation by saying nothing. Boro can now at least move on – and maybe save their season in the process.

CHRIS WILDER: Middlesbrough manager refusing to give up on Championship play-offs.

Questioned about the concern of supporters, Wilder said: “I do (understand). Social media and things go around, but do people really know me well enough or my relationship with the owner well enough and my relationship with this football club.

“I cannot stop that (rumours). Maybe I could have killed it and dealt with it a better way. I get that and understand that and maybe looking back, I possibly could have. I was emotional after a tough weekend as well.

“I get it. But I don’t think they need to question my commitment. Speculation, social media and everything catches up and bits and pieces come out, but everybody knows the game as well.

“I am ambitious and want to work in the Premier League and I want to work in the Premier League with Middlesbrough.”

After this week’s Burnley brouhaha, attention switches back to matters on the pitch.

Without a win – and goal – in four matches, Boro face an in-form Swansea side, mindful that a victory is imperative if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive by tea-time this evening.

Wilder added: “Everyone thinks we’re done and dusted. Without being critical, I’d say there’s a fair few Middlesbrough fans (who do).

“But who knows. You saw the ridiculous nature of the Championship last weekend with the results chucked up.

“If you simplified it, there’s four or five teams in it. If we win our game in hand, we’re in a pretty decent position.”