Middlesbrough put in one of their worst performances of the season when they faced Birmingham City at St. Andrews on Friday night, losing the game 2-1 in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Middlesbrough defender Dani Ayala thought he’d bundled home the goal to come away with an undeserved point, but Blues youngster Odin Bailey headed in a late winner just moments later.

The result leaves Boro in 20th, just two points outside of the relegation zone with 11 games played, and Ayala has issued a warning to his teammates that they could be in a relegation battle if they’re not careful.

Speaking to Teesside Live after the defeat, he said:

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“We have to wake up, and wake up fast because we are down the bottom and we have to realise that.

“It was a very disappointing performance and a very disappointing result” he said.

“We are down the bottom and have to realise it. Look at the table: we are down at the bottom.

Ayala admitted that achieving a top six finish might be a pipe dream at the moment, and instead they need to concentrate on picking up points to boost themselves up the table and away from danger.

“There is no point thinking we are going to be in the play-offs, we have to realise we are right in a battle now.

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“We have to all do better as players and as a team and we have to start to pick up points quickly.”

They will be hoping to do this when they face West Brom at The Riverside next weekend.