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Clayton: Narrow victories are just as pleasing as big-scoring wins
MIDDLESBROUGH new boy Adam Clayton insists he will take more results like Tuesday night’s win at Bolton Wanderers even though Aitor Karanka’s side left it late to claim three points at the Macron Stadium.
The Teessiders came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to Kike’s 78th minute strike and maintain their promising start to the new campaign.
The result leaves Boro a point behind early pace setters Nottingham Forest, even though Karanka’s men were far from their best in the North-West.
Craig Davies’ 26th minute penalty threatened to further derail Boro’s start following Saturday’s narrow defeat to Leeds United, but Grant Leadbitter’s penalty set up the comeback before the Spaniard eventually grabbed a winner.
Middlesbrough then showed resilience to hold off pressure from Bolton in the latter stages of the game and although they rode their luck at times, Clayton, who made his first start since signing from Leeds United last week, believes the manner of the result will give the team huge belief going forward.
“It was good performance from the lads. We have come back from falling behind and that shows how good we are in the dressing room, we are all together,” Clayton said. “It was a disappointing result on Saturday but we grouped together and showed what we are about.
“Everyone loves to win four or five-nil. But players also like results like this one, because when you fall behind you have to galvanise and show how strong the unit is.
“You have to get round each other. We got the equaliser at the right time and we dominated in the second half.
“It shows the type of spirit there is in the dressing room, how together we are and how we can come back after a very disappointing loss to a rival in the last few minutes and to turn it around in the space of a few days shows we are all in it together and we all want to do well.
“We all want to achieve things this season and results like at Bolton are needed.”
Clayton played alongside Leadbitter as Boro’s two deep lying midfielders at the Macron Stadium, a role the former Huddersfield Town man admits he is not used to sharing.
Since arriving last November, Karanka has stuck with his preferred 4-2-3-1 system and Clayton believes he can strike up a strong partnership with Leadbitter over time.
He said: “It’s new for me. I’m not used to playing with the two a little deeper, but that just comes with time.
“I will start to find Kike’s runs more as we develop a partnership. Playing alongside Grant will just take a little time to get to know each other’s way of playing. At Bolton we dominated in there, so it looks good and I feel comfortable playing in the team.”
Boro were able to capitalise on a hostile atmosphere at the Macron Stadium with growing discontent towards Trotters boss Dougie Freedman apparent in the stands.
Even when the home crowd willed their side forward towards the end, Clayton admits he is proud of Boro’s resolve to hold on for the win in a difficult atmosphere.
“It (pressure on Freedman) was on their mind more than ours, we just had to go for it and focus on ourselves, so you don’t really listen too much about what is going on in the stands.
“It got a little nervy but that’s always going to happen when you are 2-1 up away from home. There’s always going to be a ball or two in to the box and we got through it.”
Boro are still waiting to hear whether Patrick Bamford will join on loan. Chelsea have agreed to let the attacker move to the Riverside, but having impressed during loan spells at MK Dons and Derby County, the 20-year-old has several options for his next move.