This is what impressed Chris Wilder as Middlesbrough beat Swansea City
Chris Wilder was delighted with the resilience and grittiness of his Middlesbrough side as they ground out a 1-0 Championship victory over Swansea.
Isaiah Jones’ first-half winner proved sufficient to secure the first home win over Wilder’s Riverside reign, with Boro only recording two efforts on target all afternoon.
Swansea had much better chances, but thanks to a combination of some excellent Middlesbrough defending, some poor Swans finishing and a couple of contentious decisions from referee Andy Davies, the hosts held on to claim a victory that lifts the Teessiders to within four points of the play-off positions.
Wilder said: “We showed different qualities today and found a way to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
“Was that the way we want to play? Was that as we’ve played the last three? No.
“I think if the opposition had seen us in those last three games, which they most probably had, we were a lot better with the ball.
“Whether that was Swansea pressing us or us being sloppy in possession, I’d like to think that it was more us because we turned the ball over cheaply and I think we’re better than that.
“That was the nature of the game, but what we did show was the quality to get the blocks in and clear one off the line.
“We’ve talked about playing well and if you can’t play well then you have to come out and find a way to win the game.
“We didn’t play as well as I would have liked but we got a win and it just shows you what a crackers division it is off the back of the Millwall and Preston games.”
Jones’ goal was his first in a Boro shirt and Wilder was happy with the composed manner in which the 22-year-old slotted a low finish past Ben Hamer.
He said: “I’m looking across and there are two there waiting for a tap in, but I’ve got to say, fair play to the young man, it was a cracking finish.
“We got in quite a few times. It was a great finish and it’s been a great couple of games for him after an assist at Huddersfield as well.”
Swansea boss Russell Martin was frustrated at the way in which his defenders allowed Jones to advance unchallenged into the area.
He also felt his side should have had a penalty when Jamie Paterson was booked for diving as he fell at the feet of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Luke Daniels.
Martin said: “You can’t create that much away from home and not take a point away, it’s outrageous.
“We get punished for conceding a really poor goal, which is frustrating. Two mistakes led to the goal but on the whole the lads have defended brilliantly.
“Second half, I thought we were outstanding, I’ll take that performance. But we’ve been punished for one really poor moment and not being clinical enough in front of goal,” added the Swansea City boss.