Burton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink declared himself proud of his Burton battlers after their extra-time defeat at home to Middlesbrough.
Former Boro striker Hasselbaink saw his side go down 2-1 as a a Christian Stuani double denied them a repeat of an FA Cup giantkilling against the Championship side four years ago.
Hasselbaink said: “I can only praise my team. I thought we played really well.
“I thought we were a little bit unlucky with the two goals and I also thought we were well organised and that we were dangerous when we had the ball.
“We put them under pressure with and without the ball and I thought we were difficult to break down.
“The boys did themselves proud because we were up against good players and a good team.
“You have to have a good plan and the right plan. I thought we did that.
“We looked comfortable and looked as though we knew what we were doing, especially in the first half.
“It was always going to be hard in extra-time, but I still thought we did ever so well.
“Middlesbrough have been in a very hard game and they had to dig deep to get the result they wanted.”
Stuani was the hero for Aitor Karanka’s side after they had trailed at the break to George Friend own goal.
Stuani levelled the scores in the 70th minute and struck again in the second period of extra-time to take his side into the third round, where they will host Championship rivals Wolves.
Boro boss Karanka admitted it had been a close call for his side.
The Spaniard said: “It was a difficult game but we knew it would be because we saw in the last round how many Championship teams were beaten.
“Burton have a good manager and they have been doing well this season. The cups are always difficult against these teams.
“I’m really pleased that we won the game because I thought we had many chances before the game went to extra-time.
“I’m proud of my team. I thought the players I brought in were brilliant.
“It was a worry to be losing at half-time because we had control of the game and many chances to be in front.
“The reaction in the second half and extra-time was perfect. We never lost confidence.”
Karanka made seven changes to the Boro side beaten 1-0 by Bristol City on Saturday, including a first start of the season for veteran former England defender Jonathan Woodgate.
The Boro boss added: “I think Jonathan needed a sit down afterwards, but he showed what a great professional he is.
“He puts everything into it on the pitch and is a great example to other players.”
Burton Albion: Matthews, Naylor, O’Connor, Cansdell-Sherriff, Binnom-Williams, Akins, Weir, Butcher, Reilly, Palmer, Joachim. Subs: McLaughlin, Edwards, Beavon, El Khayati, McCrory, Thiele, Duffy.
Middlesbrough: Mejias, Stephens, Gibson, Woodgate, Kalas, Forshaw, Reach, Leadbitter, Friend, Garcia, Stuani. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Ayala, Clayton, Husband, Downing, Nsue, Fabbrini.
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