Here's how the media viewed our 3-0 win against Derby County...
SO much for Middlesbrough only being able to defend then. The Teessiders might have kept their seventh clean sheet of the season last night, successfully shutting out a Derby County side boasting England’s all-time record goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, but it was at the other end of the field where they sparkled as they recorded their biggest win of the season.
Boro scored three goals under Neil Warnock for the first time as they flexed their attacking muscles, with the manager’s tactical tweaks and bold team selection eliciting just the response he would have wanted.
The hosts were the better side throughout the first half, claiming a deserved lead through Britt Assombalonga’s close-range finish, and cut loose as the game opened up in the second period.
Matthew Clarke’s own goal doubled their lead, before Marvin Johnson capped an impressive cameo from the substitutes’ bench with an excellent curled finish into the corner. Having inherited a side that looked bereft of an attacking threat when he was appointed at the end of last season, Warnock has somehow fashioned a team that boast goalscoring options that would have seemed unfathomable last term.
Boro, by contrast (to Derby), are in good health. Certainly compared to this time last year when November ended with a brutal 4-0 defeat at Leeds United which had the relegation alarm bells ringing.
Without being outstanding, Boro were solid, professional and far too strong for Derby and won their battles across the pitch as they moved into seventh place ahead of Saturday's trip to one of Warnock's former clubs in Huddersfield Town.
Organisation and defensive strength have been defining features of Boro's consistent squad to the campaign, with the caveat being they do not score enough goals.
Here, they set about doing something about it and registered three goals on home soil in the league for the first time since beating Sheffield United in August 2018.
A good night was sealed by a beauty late on from substitute Marvin Johnson, who curled home a delicious late third after being set up by the impressive George Saville.
If character of a team is judged by the manner in which they respond to setbacks then this Middlesbrough side have the personality to stick around at the top end of the Championship.
After Boro's opening day defeat to Watford, they bounced back in stunning fashion by setting off on a 10-match unbeaten run. After that stretch was ended by Norwich City, the response was exactly what Neil Warnock will have hoped for.
The manager expressed his concern about the naivety of his young side on the eve of the visit of Derby County, but Boro showed maturity in comfortably seeing off the Championship's bottom club 3-0, in doing so notching their biggest win since they beat Sheffield United by the same scoreline more than two years ago.
Boro were typically solid and organised at the back and at the other end showed the clinical edge they've lacked this season, Britt Assombalonga prodding Boro ahead at the back end of what had been an even first half before substitute Marvin Johnson stole the show.
Middlesbrough climbed to seventh, a point shy of the play-off places, thanks to a deserved victory embellished by two late goals The first, in the 33rd minute, was bundled home from close range at the far post by Britt Assombalonga, the forward a beneficiary of an inviting knock down from debutant Duncan Watmore just after the half-hour.
The second, shortly after David Marshall had saved brilliantly to thwart Marcus Tavernier, came after 71 minutes as defender Matt Clarke deflected a cross Marvin Johnson into his own net. Johnson's impressive cameo from the bench was sealed when with seven minutes remaining, the midfielder curled home the third as Derby left gaps at the back in a fruitless search for a way back.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock said: "Someone just reminded me that I said I'd do somersaults if we scored three, but I might have to go back on that now."
Wayne Rooney has delivered on many of his promises during a stellar playing career but his prediction that Derby County would quickly turn the corner after he accepted a more hands-on coaching role is proving rather difficult to orchestrate.
Derby have suffered back-to-back defeats since England’s leading goalscorer became the public face of the club’s four-man brains trust in the wake of Phillip Cocu’s departure, and they remain bottom of the Championship with a single victory in 13 attempts.
Their confidence remains brittle. and they are without a goal for more than seven hours.
The first goal was bundled home from close range at the far post by Britt Assombalonga, the forward the beneficiary of a knock-down from the Middlesbrough debutant Duncan Watmore just after the half-hour.
With Steve McClaren, the former England head coach and Derby’s new technical director, a spectator from the stands, Assombalonga might have secured the match ball before half-time, sending an angled drive narrowly wide before curling a free kick off-target.
Middlesbrough’s second arrived in the 71st minute as Matt Clarke turned a Marvin Johnson cross into his own goal. Johnson rounded off an impressive cameo from the bench by curling home the third with seven minutes left.
Derby remain bottom of the Championship after joint interim manager Wayne Rooney saw his side beaten 3-0 at Middlesbrough.
Britt Assombalonga put the Teessiders into the lead with a close-range effort after 33 minutes. The Rams – on the search for a new permanent manager following the departure of Phillip Cocu – fell further behind when defender Matthew Clarke diverted a cross into his own net after 71 minutes.
Substitute Marvin Johnson curled in a late third for the home side, who move to seventh, two points off the top six. A fourth straight loss for Derby, meanwhile, leaves them now six points from safety.