Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was full of praise for his side’s ‘perfect’ performance in their 3-0 win over hapless Millwall on Tuesday night.
Boro, who lost for only the second time since the turn of the year at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday responded in formidable fashion to return to regain top spot in the Championship.
Karanka told BBC Tees: ‘I had no doubt that the players would have this reaction, everything about it was perfect.
‘It was always going to be a difficult game, especially on the back of a defeat on Saturday.’
The Championship’s fixture scheduling is extremely demanding and the Teesiders’ FA Cup run has only added to the congestion.
The former Real Madrid coach admitted that fatigue may have played a part in Saturday’s shock reversal at Hillsborough.
‘This was our eight match in a month.’ continued Karanka.
‘I understand the players can be tired in the legs, they have reason to be tired. A lot of football means that mentally it is very tiring for the players.’
Tuesday night’s comprehensive victory saw a return to goals for on-loan striker Patrick Bamford who ended a three-game drought, whilst Kike and Jelle Vossen both netted for the first time in
‘I am very pleased for all of my forwards.
‘We need those goals, because all of the teams now below us have striker who have 40-45 goals between them.
‘I knew when our strikers start to score goals it will make the difference because we are a consistent team.’
The race to reach the Premier League is really heating up with just four points separating the top five teams in the Sky Bet Championship.
Aitor Karanka’s side travel to Nottingham Forest on Saturday and will look to put ground between them and the chasing pack.