Aitor Karanka says he is pleased with his side's progression following the 2-0 win over Al-Ahli.

After defeat to Real Betis and a draw with Alcorcon last week, victory against the Saudi Arabian champions provided a positive conclusion to the team's Marbella pre-season training camp.

"It's not about the score at the end, it's that we've improved," said Karanka.

"This week here, the last game has been much better than the first. For that reason, I am really pleased."

With the game played in the searing midday sun at the Marbella Football Centre, Karanka feels that Al-Ahli provided a worthy test. 

"It's a different football that they tried to play, sometimes more physical and with speed," Karanka said. 

"But most importantly it was another training session, another game, and we had no injuries again."

The squad now return to England, where they will next face Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday (3pm).

Boro 2 Al-Ahli 0