MANAGER Aitor Karanka hailed Danny Graham after the on-loan striker finally ended Middlesbrough’s 12-hour goal drought in this win over Ipswich.
Graham stabbed home a spilled shot from close range midway through the first half – Boro’s first goal in eight games – then headed a second just before the break.
After the opener, the £5m striker buzzed about and created all kinds of problems for the Ipswich defence as Boro played with the shackles off.
“I was happy for Danny,” said Karanka. “After the goal he demonstrated he is a very good Premier League player.
“He showed exactly the kind of player he is with typical striker’s goals from close range. I’m happy for him because he deserves to score. He came here to help us and I know he had a long time without a goal. It’s good for him to score because strikers thrive on confidence and that will do him a power of good.
“He could be forgiven for thinking he’s more important than the other players here because he’s come from the Premier League, but he’s a very humble, hard-working player.”
Karanka admitted he was relieved to end a barren spell.
“Finally, the goals arrived and I’m very happy. Firstly, our supporters deserved to see us scoring goals and winning and secondly it’s great for my team to reward their hard work,” he said.
“But I was never worried. I always believed 100 per cent in myself and in the team.”
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Varga, Gibson, Omeruo, Friend, Ledesma, Leadbitter, Chalobah, Carayol (Main 81), Tomlin (Butterfield 78), Graham (Kamara 72). Unused substitutes: Morris, Steele, Luke Williams, Atkinson.
Ipswich Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Green, Skuse, Tabb (Williams 72), Nouble (Hyam 46), Murphy, Taylor (Ebanks-Blake 69). Unused substitutes: Loach, Anderson, Hunt, Mings.
Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).
Man of the match: Danny Graham.