Karanka’s wary of smug Boro
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.”
JELLE ON A PLATE: Middlesbrough’s Jelle Vossen scores Boro’s second goal from close range
his goal STAR: Lee Tomlin celebrates