Aitor Karanka says that his Middlesbrough side must find the right balance in a tough Premier League test against Southampton this weekend. 

The Head Coach praised the way Boro took the game to Hull City in Monday's win at the Riverside Stadium.

"Three points in the Premier League are always welcome," he said.

"The performance for the first 70 minutes especially was really good. 

"We had a lot of possession and created a lot of chances.

"We are adding experience and winning games, which is what we need."

Karanka expects a different kind of challenge at St Mary's this weekend.

"After good games against top teams, I had to hear that we are a defensive team," he said.

"But then against Leicester City and Hull we showed we know how to play with the ball.

"Every game is different, but when we play in our style we always create chances.

"Southampton is not a game like Hull where we are going to dominate the possession, but it is not like Manchester City or Arsenal where we have to defend a lot.

"We have to find the balance, to be organised when we don't have the ball and play with freedom when we have it."

Boro's Head Coach feels his side's desire can be the difference in a tight contest this weekend.

"We have scored and conceded the same numbers of goals as Southampton," he said.

"But playing in the way we have we are confident. 

"On Monday, we were the team who ran the most so far this season. The players are committed, whether they are playing or not playing.

"Now is a good moment because everyone has been working hard, and our position is a reflection of that work.

"We have a lot of games over Christmas, and I know how important this period can be, so we have to keep going."