Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka slammed his players’ attitude after this defeat at fellow promotion contenders Ipswich.
The Suffolk side moved back to second in the Championship after first-half goals from top scorer Daryl Murphy and Jay Tabb, the latter on the cusp of half-time.
Boro had gone into the match on the back of a fantastic run of just one defeat in 17 matches, but they looked anything but a form team after offering little in the way of a response.
Karanka said: “This is the first time I have been angry with my players’ attitude.
“After last week’s win against Derby County, we thought we were a Champions League team.
“But (on Saturday) it is impossible to take anything from the game.
“Ipswich wanted it more than us. Murphy was first to the rebound for their first goal, Teddy Bishop at 18 years old was the best player on the pitch and Jay Tabb, at 5ft 5ins, scored with his head.
“It was our worst performance of the season – it is difficult to understand.”
Ipswich bossed proceedings from the moment they took the lead. Tabb’s low cross was met by David McGoldrick and while his shot was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, strike partner Murphy fired in the rebound.
It was no surprise when the home side doubled their advantage, even if the manner of the goal – via the head of the diminutive Tabb – was a little more unorthodox. The midfielder met Bishop’s cross after intricate build-up.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Parr, Anderson (Sammon 82), Bishop (Ambrose 71), Skuse (Bru 52), Tabb, McGoldrick, Murphy. Unused substitutes: Gerken, Stephen Hunt, Bajner, Clarke.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue, Ayala, Omeruo (Veljkovic 62), Friend, Adomah (Tomlin 46), Leadbitter, Clayton, Reach, Bamford, Vossen (Garcia 62). Unused substitutes: Gibson, Whitehead, Wildschut,Mejias.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).