Steve Agnew says there was plenty to build upon from Sunday's match at the Riverside, despite defeat to Manchester United.
Rudy Gestede ended Boro's 510-minute search for a Premier League goal as the Teessiders chased down United's 2-0 lead, but the game's fourth goal ultimately fell to the Red Devils through Antonio Valencia.
"We're disappointed to lose the game - the second goal set us back a little bit," Agnew said.
"But in terms of the players, I couldn't be more proud of their fighting spirit.
"If we show that commitment and intensity until the end of the season, we have a real chance of staying up."
Agnew admits it was a relief to see Boro find the net, but feels another for the home side would have been merited.
"It is a relief to get a goal, but we didn't quite get a bounce of the ball and the equaliser," he said.
"On the balance of the game at that time, I thought we deserved it."
The Head Coach spoke of his pride to take charge of Boro, having replaced Aitor Karanka on Thursday.
"It's a club I have a big affection for," he said.
"I love the people in the area, the passionate crowd and north east football. It's a pleasure to be in charge of a team and see them respond like they did.
"I know in the coming games we'll take that same fighting spirit."