Karanka: Boro are refreshed and ready for run-in

PAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT: Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford celebrates his winner
PAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT: Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford celebrates his winner
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AITOR Karanka says that the time afforded on the training pitch because of the international break helped Middlesbrough towards victory against Wigan Athletic.

A first-half goal from Patrick Bamford was all Boro needed to see off the Latics at the Riverside yesterday as they continued apace their promotion push.

We are a team. We played as a team and I can’t choose a player if you ask me who was the best player

AITOR KARANKA

The performance was a shadow of what Boro are capable of but after such a testing schedule in February and March, 13 days without action was essential for the Teessiders to regroup.

Karanka admitted that he could “understand the performance wasn’t as good as everyone wanted” but he was delighted that his team “did our job and now we have three more points”.

He says there is a new lease of life in the Teessiders following the short break. “Everybody was tired because we had a lot of games in February and March,” he said, “and it is difficult to arrive at the following game ready when there is a lot of matches.

“But now we had two weeks off our heads are fresh and we have four games in two weeks.

“Two weeks of working together, recovering and resting mentally. I am confident.”

Wigan had chances aplenty in the second half to draw level but wasted them all.

Karanka believed that his defence, in particular Jonathan Woodgate and Ben Gibson, deserve credit for their resoluteness.

He added: “We are a team. We played as a team and I can’t choose a player if you ask me who was the best player.

“Dimi (Konstantopoulos) was brilliant, the defenders were brilliant, Adam Reach was brilliant and (Adam) Clayton worked well in the middle.

“In the second half we left them to play their style and we had problems but the team was consistent.”

And ahead of the crunch game against Watford on Monday, he stated: “It is important not to lose. I always go to the game thinking we can win.

“The main thing is to win the games and the squad is confident and we are very pleased and ready to work well on Monday.”