Middlesbrough 'gave as good as we got' insists Michael Carrick after 3-2 loss at Leeds United - plus his take on officials
Against a side who came into the game on the back of a ten-match unbeaten league sequence at Elland Road - and six successive wins – Boro took the lead after just three minutes when Emmanuel Latte Lath netted a fine opener.
Stung into action, Leeds exposed Boro’s brittle backline - who badly missed the presence of Dael Fry and Darragh Lenihan in particular - to soon go in front 2-1 after a second breakneck opening in a home game at LS11.
Headed goals from Dan James and Crysencio Summerville forged Leeds ahead on seven minutes.
A surfeit of chances arrived at both ends before Joel Piroe extended Leeds’s lead from the penalty spot, in what proved to be the decisive moment on the day.
It came after Matt Clarke, in just his second appearance after over a year out with a serious back injury and moments after coming on, fouled Georginio Rutter after Boro’s defensive woes took another hit when Paddy McNair departed with injury.
But Latte Lath’s second goal of the game on the strike of half-time hauled Boro back in it.
While Boro had some scares in the second half, Leeds couldn’t see the visitors off, even after Dijksteel’s dismissal for a foul on James.
Boro went agonisingly close to a point when substitute Sammy Silvera hit the post late on and the final whistle was a relieving one for Leeds.
Offering his take, Carrick said: “I don’t know where to start, really.
"Disappointed, with the overriding feeling with the result more than anything.
"I was not disappointed with the boys. It’s a tough place to come and they have got some really good individuals, top individuals in this league and I kind of feel we gave as good as we got.
"We were up against it a little bit in terms of some boys playing their first games in a while and a new back four. But the boys stuck at it ever so well.
"We had issues that we needed to fix a little bit and conceded goals, but in general, I thought there were loads of good things from it and we almost feel we let one slip really and should have got more from the game.
"The first two goals came from two deflected crosses and we’d half-blocked both of them.
"Defending the box is something we’d done pretty well at recently, but they (Leeds) are good individuals and I can’t fault our lads. We just gave ourselves a little too much to do, especially away from home.
"But we looked dangerous and looked like we could score goals. We have played a lot of top teams in the league and given as good as we’ve got.
"We were right in there. Manu could have had four or five (goals), that’s what he brings with his sharpness."
On Dijksteel’s dismissal, he said: “I haven't seen it. It is what it is. There were a lot of fouls in the game. I could sit here and say a lot went against us but it's not going to get me anywhere.”