RAY PARLOUR has called for Middlesbrough to find their ruthless streak as they attempt the double - progress in the UEFA Cup and a place in the Premiership's top six.

Austrian champions Grazer AK arrive at the Riverside Stadium on Thursday night looking to edge through to the last 16 of the competition having conceded two away goals in the first leg.

But Boro, working hard to make sure the game is not postponed because of snow, allowed Grazer back into the contest with some sloppy defending and Parlour believes things have got to change.

The midfielder knows all about finishing teams off - he was part of Arsenal's trophy runs in over a decade at Highbury.

And Parlour hopes to help Boro become miserly in defence and prolific in front of goal in a bid to ensure Steve McClaren's men continue to make a name for themselves domestically and in Europe.

"All the very best sides close out games and we have to do that more and more," said Parlour. "We are a good side with plenty of terrific players, but as a unit we have to hold onto wins because that is what separates the good sides from the teams which win trophies every year.

"At Arsenal we were famous for holding onto leads and that is so important. The ability to close out games is so important - in fact, there is nothing more important in football."

Earlier in the campaign Boro's emphatic form proved that they are capable of egding in front and keeping hold of advantages.

On one occasion the Teessiders made light work of Lazio, the Italian giants, in the group phase of the UEFA Cup when they arrived in the North-East in November only to be beaten 2-0.

"If we get our noses in front this time I would back us to protect it on home soil," said Parlour, hoping to help Boro pocket a date with either Feyenoord or Sporting Lisbon next month.

"When we scored early on against Lazio the confidence just ran through the side and we never looked in any danger. We have to do the same again."

Meanwhile, 40 fans helped Boro staff to clear heavy snow off the Riverside pitch yesterday to try and ensure Thursday's game goes ahead.

Further snowfalls are expected and there is every chance more appeals to supporters for help will come from Boro.

Spokesman Dave Allan warned: "There are no guarantees that this game will be played. The pitch cover will protect the pitch and the salt has been ordered to cover the car park and the stands so we are doing everything possible to make sure it does.

"But we are also relying on the council to make sure the approach roads are made safe as well. We are doing all we can."

* Claudio Reyna has pledged to work throughout the summer in an effort to make up for lost time in his Manchester City career.

The ex-Sunderland midfielder returned to action after a virtual five-month lay-off with a groin injury when he made a reserve team appearance against Boro last Friday.

After being restricted to just 31 starts since his deadline-day arrival from Sunderland in August 2003, Reyna said: ''Through the summer I have to work hard and make sure I do my fitness work.

''I really can't take time off because this has been my off time. I have internationals during the summer, so I have to stay fit.''

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