Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has insisted manager Steve McClaren remains the best man to get the club out of relegation trouble.
Steve McClaren's side has slumped to fourth from bottom in the table
Gibson spoke to a group of around 20 angry supporters still waiting outside the Riverside two hours after Saturday's 4-0 defeat by Aston Villa.
"The only way this club has gone under Steve McClaren is up," he insisted.
"We have had a bad couple of months but there are reasons for that. We need all the fans to get behind the team."
The chairman also told the group: "When Steve McClaren came to this club we had only managed 42 points under Terry Venables.
"Since then, we have won the Carling Cup, we have got into Europe the last two years running and we are still in the Uefa Cup.
"You have to look in the longer term."
Gibson dismissed one fan's suggestion McClaren appeared to lack passion for the club.
He said: "I can tell you if you had seen Steve McClaren after Saturday's game you would see how passionate he is about this football club."
He also promised there would be no ban for the fan who ran on to the pitch during the match before hurling his season ticket at manager McClaren after the fourth goal had been conceded.
"That man will get his season ticket back with no action taken because we understand that kind of passion," said Gibson.
Former Boro midfielder Jonathan Greening said he thought McClaren had lost the dressing room.
The 27-year-old, who left Boro for West Brom in 2004, was quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying: "I am not really surprised to see Middlesbrough struggling.
"I know a few of the boys there who are a bit unhappy with McClaren's way of doing things.
"Some of the signings have not worked out for him either. He spent £8.5m on Massimo Maccarone and he doesn't even play.
"McClaren is a really good coach, but some coaches don't make good managers."
Gibson also confirmed that the club had a bid for Manchester City's midfielder Joey Barton turned down last week.