Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren is confident the strength of character Steve Bruce possesses will see him through his darkest hour at Birmingham.
With the Blues staring at relegation from the Barclays Premiership, salt was mercilessly rubbed into gaping wounds with last night’s 7-0 FA Cup quarter-final humiliation to Liverpool at St Andrews.
McClaren can understand exactly how Bruce is today feeling because it was only just over two months ago that Boro were beaten by the same scoreline in a league game at Arsenal.
As if that was not bad enough, during Boro’s 4-0 Riverside defeat to Aston Villa three weeks later, McClaren was confronted by an angry fan who threw his season ticket towards the manager in disgust.
At that time, it appeared as if McClaren’s job was on the line, but less than two months later the club are through to the last eight of the FA and UEFA Cups, while their league status is almost secure.
“I’ve every sympathy for Brucie for what he went through last night because I’ve been there. It’s not nice,” said McClaren.
“But what I do now about Steve is that he has strength of character. He had that as a player, and he’s got it as a manager.
“His team has been riddled with injuries, as we were when we went to Arsenal. We were exactly the same.
“But we knew that eventually the sun would shine again, and we would get players back and start getting results.”
McClaren added: “My message to Brucie is to remind him there are better days ahead, and that he has the character, the staff and the players to turn it around.”