MIDDLESBROUGH boss Aitor Karanka was pleased his side got the job done as they beat rock-bottom Rotherham United 1-0.
Having beaten Charlton 3-0 at the weekend, the expectation was to also make light work of the Millers, but they had to make do with Stewart Downing’s breakaway goal.
Although failing to hit their straps, they still could have won by a bigger margin as Carlos De Pena and George Friend hit the woodwork.
The Boro crowd became increasingly frustrated at failing to put Rotherham away, but Karanka knew what the most important thing was.
“I think it was a difficult game. We won at Old Trafford last week, we won on Saturday and this was the third game against a tough team,” Karanka said. “One year ago we played the same sort of game against Blackpool and we drew.
“It is a tough game but we missed chances to score the second, the third, the fourth. But we have to learn from this game, when everybody was expecting the second goal we played worst. But the main thing is we have won the game.
“The first goal is always the most difficult, we thought getting more was going to be easier and it was the opposite.
“In the second half we lost our confidence, but the main thing is the three points.
“Last season we lost a lot of points against teams at the bottom and this season we are winning them.
“Today against a Rotherham team, we have won the game. We have three more points so we have to keep going.”
Rotherham simply did not have enough quality to test Boro and new boss Neil Redfearn has not won any of his first five games in charge, with a relegation battle looming.
They had a chance after 80 minutes when Jordan Bowery went clean through but he skewed his effort wide and Redfearn was happy to see an improvement after Saturday’s 3-0 hammering at Derby.
“It was a vast improvement, at times we played really well,” said Redfearn.
“They are a good side. At times they created chances and they could have had another goal, but we also had our chances. Jordan Bowery has gone clean through, it’s a chance.
“I am not down with the performance, I am down with the result.
“But it’s not the Middlesbrough’s of this world where we need to get the results, this top six is by far and away ahead of the rest but it was a really diligent and tough performance.”