A great victory on the road as Karanka returned to Middlesbrough. It’s a tough one to pick but who was the best player in this battling win?
GK Neil Etheridge 8
A quality game from Blues’ shot stopper. After a shaky few weeks and being dropped at the Etihad, Etheridge bounced back in immense style today and made some decisive saves that gave us the 3 points.
RB Maxime Colin 8 (A)
Max has attracted a fair bit of criticism this season, but today’s performance is sure to keep them quiet. His ball across goal for Hogan was pin perfect and he later managed to scramble away from two Boro defenders to get a ball in the box, which he did in quite spectacular fashion.
CB Harlee Dean (C) 8
A tremendous game for the skipper. Another player who has slowed down recently but he certainly recaptured his early season form in this clash. He was utterly dominant throughout the whole game and I’m not sure he lost a single aerial duel.
CB Mikel San Jose 8
San Jose showed exactly what he can bring to this team today. When he picked up the ball, no matter what the circumstance or where the area he always managed to pick out a player in lucky green. A really good shift from the Spaniard.
LB George Friend 8
Friend had a great return to Teeside. He was a crucial part of an unbreakable defence and was the player that Bela looked to when in need of help creating chances.
CDM Maikel Kieftenbeld 6.5
Kief’s rating may appear low but that’s only due to the amazing quality of the rest of the side. His work rate was crucial to the victory.
CDM Ivan Sunjic 8
This was the type of performance that Sunjic has to deliver week in, week out. He was a force of nature in the middle of the park and didn’t give the Boro players a minute on the ball without any pressure.
CAM Jon Toral 6.5
Another player that by no means had a bad game. He came off fairly early which is a significant part of the reasoning for his rating.
RW Ivan Sanchez 8
Sanchez would get a very high rating for his wonderful flick back into Colin alone. A sensational performance from the tricky Spanish winger.
LW Jeremie Bela 8 (MOTM)
For me, Bela was the most crucial player in that game. He dictated all the play down the left flank and used Friend and Sunjic as players to work with perfectly. He escaped the clutches of Dijksteel many times and was a constant thorn in Middlesbrough’s back.
ST Scott Hogan 7
Finally, Blues have an out and out top scorer. Hogan’s tidy finish took him top with 3 goals this season. Hopefully this is the start of a run of goals.
62′ Roberts 7
76′ Jutkiewicz 6.5
90′ Clayton N/A
Opposition MOTM – Jonny Howson