ADAM Clayton has admitted that Middlesbrough would have taken a draw against Brentford on Friday in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final.
Loanee Fernando Amorebieta’s 93rd minute winner bookended a pulsating game at Griffin Park that Boro defender superbly and attacked intently to win 2-1.
We’d have taken 1-1 - so to nick it is lovelyAdam Clayton
Clayton, though, confessed that after the home side levelled when Andre Gray robbed Dimi Konstantopoulos of the ball, the Teessiders were content with taking the game into the second-leg with neither side holding the advantage.
“We knew it was going to be tough and, with 10 minutes to go at 1-1, and even after the mistake, we’d have taken 1-1. So to nick it is lovely,” the central midfielder said.
“When Dimi made that mistake, the place was rocking, but to be fair the lads, we kept our heads very calm and did what we needed to do.
“We stayed in the game because they’re a team that can score one or two goals quite quickly.
“We stayed in the game very well and then Dimi made one of the best saves I’ve seen all season from him. With five or 10 minutes to go, they were on top, which they were going to be.
“Then we dug in again and got the winner, so we’re delighted.”
Head coach Aitor Karanka has already outlined his intention for Boro to attack in Friday’s return leg, rather than trying to protect their slender lead.
Clayton says that complacency cannot and will not occur in front of a sold out Riverside because of the quality and predicament that Mark Warburton’s Bees are in.
“We know this tie is nowhere near over. They’re going to come and give everything because, at this stage of the season, they’ve got absolutely nothing to lose,” he added.
“We’ve just got to be right on our game against a very good Brentford team and be as good as we’ve been at home all season. Hopefully, with a packed Riverside, we can’t be beaten.
“It can be hard to know which way to go – do you defend it or do you go for it? – but I’m sure we’ll get out on the front foot like we did against Wolves and Norwich and try to play it that way.
“It’s in our hands now, and if we don’t lose, we win the semi-final. As it is though, it’s still only half-time and the play-offs have done very cruel things to teams before. It’ll be tough, but hopefully we can get over the line.