Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karanka's Relief as His Boro Huff and Puff to Crucial Win

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karanka's Relief as His Boro Huff and Puff to Crucial Win

Article excerpt

BRENTFORD 0 MIDDLESBROUGH 1 RELIEVED Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka admitted his side were lucky to claw to a precious 1-0 victory at Brentford.

The Teessiders were under the cosh for long spells of the first half and the Bees hit the post before Boro broke out to win a penalty that Grant Leadbitter converted on the stroke of half-time.

And they side had to dig deep in a frantic finale and needed a superb point-blank stop from keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos at the death to hold on against their promotion rivals.

The fortunate win was a far cry from the polished 2-0 FA Cup win at Premier League champions Manchester City last time out.

But Karanka was more concerned with banking the points than the manner of the win.

"It was not a good performance but it was a very important three points," said a relieved Karanka.

"We were not at our best, we played better against Manchester City than we did against Brentford, but we scored a goal and got three points so that's why it is important.

"After Man City everyone was expecting a lot from us, but it wasn't as brilliant a performance. But that does not matter as we managed to add three more points to the table.

"It's difficult to win games even when you play well, so it is even harder to win when you don't.

"For example, we played well against Reading but didn't win, today we haven't played well but won the game.

"We were lucky today, but we were unlucky against Blackburn at home before Christmas, so that is football."

Sluggish Boro were given the run around by incisive Brentford in the first half, and twice headers flew just wide while another one was blocked on the line by Leadbitter.

And Boro keeper Konstantopoulos had to be sharp to tip a Jota shot over then push a low Dallas shot onto the post.

But Boro grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time as a Ben Gibson long ball sent Patrick Bamford into the box where he was skittled over by the advancing keeper. …

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