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Brazilian star Alves is Boro dangerman in White Hart Lane clash

PUBLISHED: 20:02 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 September 2010

MIDDLESBROUGH, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 06:  Middlesbrough Manager Gareth Southgate shouts instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at the Riverside Stadium on April 6, 2008 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

MIDDLESBROUGH, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 06: Middlesbrough Manager Gareth Southgate shouts instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at the Riverside Stadium on April 6, 2008 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

MIDDLESBORO played their best football of the season in back-to-back games against title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United, and Juande Ramos will not be underestimating Gareth Southgate s 14th placed outfit when they meet at the Lane on Saturday. M

MIDDLESBORO played their best football of the season in back-to-back games against title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United, and Juande Ramos will not be underestimating Gareth Southgate's 14th placed outfit when they meet at the Lane on Saturday.

Middlesbrough, with 35 points, trail the Lilywhites by five points and, like Tottenham, Southgate's much improved squad is targeting a top-10 finish.

The Riverside outfit have steadily improved since Southgate, their former skipper, took over from Steve McLaren, who left for the England job. Southgate, who had no previous managerial experience, was to many a surprise choice for many. However, Middlesbrough finished a respectable 14th as Southgate cut his managerial teeth.

And then, in his first full season in charge, he guided Boro to 12th place with 46 points.

This season Southgate has reiterated his managerial skills. Last Sunday Boro matched Manchester United and looked to have snatched it when 2-1 ahead in the second half, before Wayne Rooney's late equaliser.

Alfonso Alves, Boro's £12m record signing, bagged his first two goals for his new club. The Brazil international, signed from Heerenveen in January, has taken time to adjust to English football.

George Boateng was another who impressed against United and can be expected to start on Saturday as can former Gunner Jeremie Aliadiere.

A week earlier, Boro had hit the woodwork three times against Chelsea at Stamsford Bridge and were desperately unlucky not to get at least a draw as they dominated the last half-hour.

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