Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said confidence was the key to his side beating Championship leaders Burnley at the Riverside.
Emmanuel Ledesma fired Boro to a hard-earned win hot on the heels of their 2-0 victory at Millwall. It was the first time Boro have won back-to-back games in 2013 and the boss admitted self-belief made the difference.
“In my first few games the team played well but results did not go well and we made late mistakes too many times and that affects confidence,” he said.
“But winning at Millwall has made a massive difference. The players were better in every area.
“When you are more confident you are more sure in your decisions. You try more, you succeed more and that grows through the team. Now we have beaten the team who are top of the table and that will make more confidence.”
But Karanka conceded that a string of late sucker punches during his short spell at Boro had left him nervous in the closing stages.
“It was painful for me,” he said.
“We could have scored two or three in the first 25 minutes but we didn’t and so, with what has happened before, I was nervous until the very last second.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche said that it was a sign of Burnley’s changed status that Boro celebrated the goal so intensely.
“Their bench’s reaction told a story,” he said. “They were up and screaming; they were buzzing. You’d have thought they had won the lottery rather than scored against Burnley but that is a sign of how far we have come.”
Middlesbrough: Given, Varga, Woodgate, Ayala (Gibson 85), Friend, Adomah,Whitehead, Smallwood, Ledesma, Jutkiewicz (Main 70), Emnes (Leadbitter 59). Unused substitutes: Rhys Williams, Butterfield, Konstantopoulos, Luke Williams.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Jones, Marney, Arfield (Treacy 74), Ings, Kightly (Stanislas 57), Vokes. Unused substitutes: Edgar, Stock, Long, Hewitt, Liversedge.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).