Middlesbrough boss pleased with Brighton win – but not display

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

AITOR Karanka was pleased with Middlesbrough’s latest win but the not performance, writes CHRIS BELL.

Boro’s 2-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion came courtesy of a dogged display and a goal apiece for Lee Tomlin and Albert Adomah.

Karanka admitted that Boro – now third in the table – controlled the game for large periods but the team’s performance fell short of his own high standards.

“It was an important win in what wasn’t our best performance,” he told SportMail afterwards.

“I think it’s very important that we win every single game but we haven’t played very well.

“Brighton are a good team and they moved the ball well and we had problems in the first half.

“I like to play more to pass the ball more have more possession and the first half especially we were behind the ball and we are more comfortable with possession.

“In the first-half we didn’t have control of the game. In the second half we were better and created more chances.”

Gordon Greer’s late goal ensured a nervous finale to the match, something which typified for the unpredictability of the Championship.

He went on: “The game was under control. They had one or two chances and then they scored a late goal. The last 10 minutes was difficult.

“In this league you count until the last second.”

Man-of the-match Daniel Ayala contributed at both ends of the pitch, denying the Seagulls chances and then teeing up Adomah after a blistering run down the right flank.

“Danny is a very good player,” the Spaniard said. “Since I arrived here he has improved a lot I am very happy with him because he is the kind of player who works very well.”

ALBERT Adomah admitted that the sight of defender Daniel Ayala running down the wing before the Ghanaian’s goal didn’t instil confidence in him.

Ayala teed up Adomah for Middlesbrough’s second goal against Brighton before the Spanish defender continued his terrific defensive performance.

“I thought it was a winger then I see Danny and thought ‘oh no! What’s he doing out on the wing’,” he joked to SportMail.

“For him to put the ball in for me was great.

“Danny was man of the match, without a doubt.

“His last minute defending and him setting me up was brilliant.”

Adomah says that Boro’s performance highlighted how they can adapt to different teams set-up.

“Normally we play passing football but we came against a team who can keep the ball,” he said.

“It showed us that we can play different ways. We don’t have to play pretty, keep-the-ball football all the time.

“We defended as a team but we know we could get out of the pressure.”

Karanka admitted his side was “gelling well as a unit” but shrugged off talk of promotion form.

Karanka’s men now boast five wins and two draws from their last seven games but the Spaniard did not want to look further ahead than tomorrow night’s clash at Wolves.

He said: “We’re in October now so we can forget about the last game, our focus is on Tuesday.

“It’s very pleasing to get three points from this tough game. It’s difficult to win games in this league and more difficult to win them away from home.

“Brighton are a very good team with a very good stadium and they are in a false position. I’m sure they will be climbing the table in the future.”

Karanka was delighted with the way his team began both halves and felt they got better as the match wore on.

He added: “In this league you have to work 100 per cent and today was a good example.

“The team is gelling well as a unit and we kept good organisation. I was pleased with the way we started and the way we went into the second half.”

Tomlin was forced off with a leg injury at half time but Karanka described it as “nothing serious” and the striker should be fit for the trip to Wolves.