Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk was frustrated with defeat at Nottingham Forest, but not with his side’s performance.
However, he did demand Boro find a ruthless streak, with Britt Assombalonga in particular, missing three good chances against his former club.
“I can’t criticise any of my players,” Monk said. “After the first 25 minutes we got to grips with them and we created some good chances of our own.
“We couldn’t have done any more to create chances and opportunities to win the game.
“I feel for the players in terms of how we came off the pitch with no points. We feel hard done by. We did more than enough to win the game.
“Luck is part of football and we have to dust ourselves down and move on.
“If we played that game again tomorrow we would probably win it with the number of chances we had. We were not clinical enough. We need to start the games better. We can’t take so long to take a grip on the game. But we are creating chances in every game and we need to be more ruthless. But that will come because the players are working hard.”
The Reds had taken the lead with a fine team goal finished by Barrie McKay in the 16th minute, before Daryl Murphy netted from the spot in the 80th.
Ben Gibson gave Boro hope in the 83rd minute, but Monk’s side would have returned north with more than that had Assombalonga not failed to convert three glorious chances against his former club, whom he left in a £15m move this summer.
Nottingham Forest: Smith, Darikwa, Worrall, Mills, Traore (Lichaj 77), Bouchalakis, Vaughan (Brereton 37), McKay (Mancienne 66), Dowell, Osborn, Murphy. Unused substitutes: Clough, Carayol, Evtimov, Cummings.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Clayton (Fletcher 77), Forshaw (Traore 46), Bamford (Baker 62), Assombalonga, Gestede. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Da Silva, Leadbitter, Roberts.
Referee: G Scott (Oxfordshire).