Tony Pulis admitted his Boro side were off the pace against Aston Villa after losing for only the second time at the Riverside this season.
The Villans were 3-0 winners on Teesside to snap an eight-game run without defeat for Boro.
Pulis said the best team left with the points to inflict only our second loss on home turf this campaign.
“From the first couple of minutes when Jordan (Hugill) goes through and Tav (Marcus Tavernier) runs round the back of him and if he runs on, Jordan can pass it to him and smash it into the back of the net,” he said.
“Mentally I think we didn’t look bright enough today, we certainly didn’t play well enough, the better team won, I don’t think there’s any question about that.
“People can criticise Darren (Randolph) for the goals but he’s been fantastic this year, he’s been top draw.
“It wasn’t our day and we’ve got to make sure we don’t have too many of them.”
Watch the full interview with the Boro manager above.