Adam Clayton believes Boro have given a good account of themselves since returning to the Premier League.

Boro have accumulated five points from four games and despite suffering a first defeat of the season to Crystal Palace, Clayton says he has been pleased with life in the top flight so far.

"I think barring Saturday we've acquitted ourselves very well," he said.

"I don't think we should have lost the game, I think we deserved at least a point. But the result was disappointing. 

"Other than that the results have been very positive. We've been away from home and looked after ourselves so hopefully we can do that again on Saturday [at Everton]. 

"Teams have the quality to put in a goal against you at any time. Concentration over 95 minutes is imperative, you've got to stay on top of it as a collective, if one switches off it could lead to a goal."

Everton are this weekend's opponents at Goodison Park and Ronald Koeman's side put on an impressive display at Sunderland midweek, hitting the Black Cats for three in the second half at the Stadium of Light.

Romelu Lukaku got all three goals and the striker also scored when Boro last met Everton in a 2-0 defeat at the Riverside a little under a year ago.

But Clayton is confident that his team are better equipped to deal with the Toffees this time around.

"Lukaku got three goals and he will be high on confidence, but we've got a great back four and whoever does play will be doing their best to marshall him and keep others quiet," said the Boro midfielder.

"I didn't watch the game but I have head they were very good in the second half. 

"We're definitely better and more equipped to challenge at this level [than last season]. 

"I thought that game [against Everton last season] was quite even apart from the goals, two quality moments they pulled out. They won that game, but we'll be trying to fix that on Saturday.

"As a team, we want to make sure we're in the league next year. When all the fixtures are coming out next year, we want the Arsenals and Chelseas still in our league."