ADAM Clayton is “confident” Middlesbrough will bounce back from their defeat to Ipswich by beating Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.
The previously in-form Boro had risen to second in the Sky Bet Champinship, only to come a cropper at Portman Road in the match of the day.
But Clayton believes the players will react against Forest at the Riverside.
The previous time Boro lost – a 2-0 defeat at Wolves in October, Aitor Karanka’s side responded with a run of eight games without defeat to take them into an automatic promotion spot.
“Each time we’ve been beaten so far, we’ve come back with a positive result and that’s all you can do,” said Clayton.
“Not many teams go through a season without being beaten, we’ve got to take this on the chin and move on to the next game.
“Our gameplan didn’t work on Saturday, but it has the majority of the season but we’ll look to bounce back on Friday against Forest.
“The lads can’t wait for Boxing Day.
“Every time we’ve put in a bad performance we have come back and won the next game.
“If we can do that we are back on track.”
Boro’s side earned the wrath of head coach Karanka for their display at Ipswich.
Karanka said he was “embarrassed” by the performance but Clayton feels the manager’s strong words are designed to motivate the players.
“The gaffer will keep us on our toes,” said the 25-year-old.
“He hates losing, just like the lads.
“He’ll be getting into us to make sure there is a positive reaction.”
Boro were a little off-colour against Mick McCarthy’s side who snatched second place from Boro, who dropped to fourth.
“We could have scored a couple of goals in the second half but it wasn’t meant to be,” Clayton told BBC Tees.
“It was a tough game – they are up near the top of the league for a reason.
“They did a bit of job on us, just like we did a job on Derby the previous Saturday.
“But we’ll come back fighting.”
Next up for Boro is the visit of Stuart Pearce’s Forest with a crowd of 30,000 expected at the Riverside.
Despite the disappointment of Saturday, Clayton says Boro have much to be pleased with.
“If you had said [at the start of the season] ‘you will go into the Boxing Day fixture three points off the top’ you’d have taken it,” he said.
“We can go into it full of confidence.
“Every team in the league will lose a game it’s about how you react to it.”