Chris Wilder’s men were winless in five but put in a very assured performance to comfortably get past Steve Morison’s Bluebirds.
Marcus Tavernier opened the scoring with a powerful low drive before Riley McGree gave them a two-goal cushion in the second half, his right footed shot deflected in off of Curtis Nelson after the January addition was teed up by Jonny Howson.
Boro are now just two points behind sixth placed Sheffield United with as many games remaining and will fancy their chances of picking up six points against Stoke City and Preston North End to finish the campaign.
Here, we have taken a look at three things we clearly learnt about Boro after their 2-0 win v Cardiff…
Play-offs is on
A dramatic drop-off, similar to that of Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers but in a smaller period, has really hurt Middlesbrough, but this win will fuel belief that they can make up ground on the Blades.
Sheffield United take on Queens Park Rangers and league leaders Fulham in their final two outings, with both looking tough considering the injury woes Paul Heckingbottom’s men have suffered.
Tavernier is fit and firing
Instrumental midfielder Marcus Tavernier was facing a late fitness test to start the game, and the home supporters were very grateful he past that, when he drilled a low shot past Dillon Phillips inside the first half an hour.
The 23-year-old is pivotal, particularly in the absence of Matt Crooks who will return from suspension next time out, and his energy gave the Bluebirds a lot to contend with on the night.
Quiz: Which club did Middlesbrough sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?
Howson holds the key
Jonny Howson has been superb all season and demonstrated his class in the club’s FA Cup triumphs over Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur this term.
The 33-year-old played a huge hand in building the attacks that led to both goals from his deep lying midfield role, and registered an assist for McGree’s 53rd minute finish.
The protection he gives the back three is crucial as well and that along with his vast experience will be of paramount importance in the final two league games of the season.