Grant Leadbitter admits Middlesbrough’s 3-0 defeat at Hull City may have given Boro “a kick up the backside”.
That top-of-the-table setback at the KC Stadium back on November 7 was a blow to the Boro morale to say the least.
May be it was a good thing because we have bounced back and won a few gamesGRANT LEADBITTER
But the reaction has been incredible with Boro reeling off an unbeaten run of eight games - all with clean sheets.
Boro have won seven of the eight to go four points clear at the summit following their 2-0 win over Derby County.
“Sometimes in football you need a kick up the backside and may be that game at Hull was that,” said the ex-Sunderland midfielder.
“May be it was a good thing because we have bounced back and won a few games.”
Leadbitter says nothing was said or done in the aftermath of the loss at Hull and believes the sequence of results now is as much about all the players settling in as much as anything.
“There were a fair few players who came into the club in the summer,” he said.
“The expectations were big, but no matter how good a player is it can take players time to settle in.
“It’s not just on the pitch, it’s the dressing room as well and it took a couple of months for the boys to settle.”
Leadbitter says a team spirit has been fostered at the Riverside.
“I wouldn’t say it was just the Hull game,” he said. “There have been a few games when we have had to stay together and know that we are a good side.
“The atmosphere in the dressing room has always been good.
“We have always rallied around when there have been lows and we don’t get too high when we are winning.”
And the 29-year-old says it is a mentallity Boro will stick to.
“We’ve done nothing yet, we need to build on what we’ve done,” he said.
“We need to look forward to our next game and that’s Burnley in the FA Cup [on Saturday].
“We have always taken one game at a time whether we’ve won or lost.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but the last eight games we have.”