Karanka’s wary of smug Boro

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joe Tait

AI­TOR Karanka has warned his Mid­dles­brough side against com­pla­cency af­ter a fort­night of plat­i­tudes ended with a hard-fought win over Charl­ton.

Karanka and mid­fielder Lee Tom­lin were handed the Cham­pi­onship manager and player of the month awards this week af­ter beat­ing Manch­ester City in the FA Cup two weeks ago.

And the Spa­niard thought that Pa­trick Bamford’s fifth-minute goal was the “worst thing to have hap­pened”.

Bamford’s ef­fort was can­celled out by Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son, but Jelle Vossen and Lee Tom­lin added sec­ond-half goals to keep Karanka’s side in the hunt for au­to­matic pro­mo­tion

“It’s a very im­por­tant win, es­pe­cially when we’ve not played our best per­for­mance es­pe­cially in the first half,” said Karanka

“We didn’t re­ally push on from the first goal, it seemed like it was the worst thing for us to have scored so early.

“With all the plau­dits af­ter the City win then when you score af­ter five min­utes, you can think ev­ery­thing’s done and of course they were wrong.

“We needed to change our men­tal­ity and needed to change the way we were play­ing.

“Any point you lose now is dif­fi­cult to re­cover again be­cause Bournemouth and Derby are win­ning their games.”

Mid­dles­brough started brightly, with Bamford glanc­ing his header from Grant Lead­bit­ter’s cor­ner past Marko Dmitro­vic af­ter five min­utes.

But with Boro show­ing real at­tack­ing in­tent, Charl­ton soaked up the pres­sure well and were de­cent on the break.

Bamford, on loan from Chelsea un­til the end of the sea­son, saw a low shot saved by Dmitro­vic af­ter some skil­ful play from Tom­lin; but Charl­ton were al­ways quick to counter and it was one such re­sponse that led to the equaliser.

Bamford gave the ball away on half­way, Charl­ton broke and Gud­munds­son fin­ished off the move with a first-time ef­fort which Dimi Kon­stan­topou­los could only paw into the roof of the net.

While Vossen was de­nied just be­fore the break, he got his goal 120 sec­onds af­ter the restart when he slot­ted home af­ter Tom­lin squared to the Bel­gian eight yards out.

Charl­ton laboured but could not get back into the game, with Boro soak­ing up the pres­sure de­cently, and the Teessiders made it three from a coun­ter­at­tack.

Lead­bit­ter drove for­wards, won a cor­ner kick – which he took him­self – and found Tom­lin on the edge of the box who sent a first­time half-vol­ley into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Gud­munds­son, Charl­ton’s man of the match, curled a shot goal­wards in stop­page time but was de­nied by Kon­stan­topou­los, and Boro held on for the victory.

De­feat for Charl­ton leaves Guy Lu­zon with­out a win for the Ad­dicks since his Jan­uary ap­point­ment, and the manager said: “The first half we played very well, we scored a goal and moved the ball well and cre­ated chances but you can’t al­low a team like Mid­dles­brough to score the goals they did at the start of each half.

“They’re one of the best teams in the league and we can’t play for just 60 min­utes, we need to con­cen­trate for the full 90 min­utes. I thought 3-1 was a bit harsh on us.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

JELLE ON A PLATE: Mid­dles­brough’s Jelle Vossen scores Boro’s sec­ond goal from close range

his goal STAR: Lee Tom­lin cel­e­brates

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