Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka says he is not paying much attention to the Championship league table after his side claimed this hard-fought win at home to Wigan.
The Teesside club ground out a priceless victory through Patrick Bamford’s 20th-minute deflected goal, which ended Wigan’s four-match winning streak away from home and saw them drift five points from safety.
Boro went top of the table in the wake of this result, but Karanka said: “It’s nice, but I would like to be in that position when I’m here after the Brighton game (on the final day of the season).
“It’s better to be there than to be eighth or ninth, but we have to forget the position and be focused on the next game.”
Boro made hard work of this win, allowing the visitors to push forward, which made for a nervy finish. “It was a tough game,” admitted Karanka. “There were a lot of long balls and set pieces. We need to learn from the game and why we couldn’t play our game.
“It was a very important win and performance, especially second half. The most important thing is to win the games, to rest well and to think about Monday’s game.
“Everything is going to be tighter. Everyone is playing for something. Wigan were playing to stay up and I think in all games someone has something to play for, so every game will be difficult.
“Everyone was tired after Bournemouth, there were a lot of games in February and March. Now after the break our heads are fresh and we now have four games in two weeks.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Woodgate, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter, Adomah, Bamford (Garcia 88), Reach, Vossen (Tomlin 68). Unused substitutes: Tiendalli, Amorebieta, Ripley, Whitehead, Forshaw.
Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Boyce, Maguire, Pearce, Bong, Pennant (Kvist Jorgensen 65), Perch, Kim, Murphy (Fortune 46), Clarke (Waghorn 61), McClean. Unused substitutes: Carson, McCann, Ojo, Barnett.
Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).