Neil Warnock praises defender Sol Bamba after Middlesbrough seal third straight clean sheet in win at Cardiff City
Martin Payero scored his first goal for Middlesbrough as they saw off a troubled Cardiff City in south Wales.
It was Boro’s third win in a week as Neil Warnock condemned his former employers to their eighth consecutive defeat while easing the tensions on Teesside.
Andraz Sporar opened the scoring for Boro 10 minutes before the break from the penalty spot after the Slovenian’s shot hit Mark McGuiness’ arm.
It was no less than the visitors deserved who dominated the opening 45 minutes and were unfortunate not to be further ahead with Paddy McNair firing over before Matt Crooks missed a golden opportunity having been sent clear through on goal.
The Bluebirds stirred for the opening stages of the second half and were unlucky not to draw level when ex-Boro man Aden Flint’s header bounced onto the bar.
But Boro weathered the storm and hit the woodwork themselves through McNair before Argentine Payero coolly slotted home from just inside the area.
And Boro boss Warnock was quick to praise his squad having collected maximum points over the last seven days.
“I'm pleased we've got 11 lads in tact and we've got the points,” Warnock told Sky Sports.
“We won that game in the 10 minutes after half time when we were under the cosh throwing bodies on the line.
“[But] we played some good stuff at times, always on the front foot.
“We have created a lot of chances in the last few weeks, but that's us, we don't make things easy.”
Warnock went on to discuss the penalty decision which allowed Sporar to give his side the lead admitting he was still angered by Marlon Pack’s challenge on the Slovenian prior to the incident.
“I was still seething that they never had a red card beforehand. The tackle on Sporar, they're the ones you've got to get out the game.”
And the Boro boss was also keen to praise veteran defender Sol Bamba who has marshalled his side to three successive clean sheets in the last seven days.
“I’m really pleased for Sol, it's not easy playing three games in a week.
“If you'd have told me Sol Bamba and Lee Peliter would be playing well and regularly in my team I'd have said you were on drugs. They’re a credit to manage.”