Aitor Karanka says Boro will use this week without a game to learn from what happened at Bristol City last Saturday.

Boro suffered a first defeat since November at Ashton Gate when Wes Burns rose to score a late header with what was one of the final touches of the game.

Derby lost 3-0 at home to Birmingham, though, meaning the gap on third place remained at six points, and Karanka was keen to point out that Boro are still well-placed at the league summit.

"We're in a really good position," said the Boro Head Coach.

"I don't think at the beginning of the season anybody expected us to be where we are now in January.

"We have a week to work on the training ground and learn from what happened at Bristol."

With the Teessiders' fine form over December rocketing Karanka's side into pole position at the top of the league, many national media outlets already had Boro pegged as certainties for promotion.

And Karanka believes that defeat to Bristol City highlighted that there's still a long way to go in the Championship - but is urging his side to keep pushing in the same direction.

When asked if the loss was proof of how difficult the Championship can be, Karanka said: "It's good, especially for the people who thought we were going to be in the Premier League in February.

"It's difficult, but the main thing is that we have the same distance from third place. 

"We're having an amazing season and we have to keep going."