Middlesbrough got their playoff hopes back on track with one of the comfortable football results of the midweek action in the Championship. Aaron Connolly opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Florian Balogun doubled their advantage in the 62nd minute. To compound the misery on the home team, Kristian Pederson was shown his second yellow card in the final minutes of the game.
Birmingham’s Lee Bowyer: “Tonight wasn’t good enough, in lots of ways. I’m the person in charge and I take full responsibility for that. But sometimes your players have to look at themselves. We lost every battle, all over the pitch, so that hurts me a lot. Just accepting defeats, rolling over, and pulling out of tackles, that’s not what this football club’s about. I didn’t see enough passion. You’re not in a relegation fight in the past four years unless you have performances like that. It shocks me because I don’t accept it. But that’s the running thing here and that’s what we need to change. In the summer, people will have to move on.”
Middlesbrough’s Chris Wilder: “It was important. We stressed to the players that we needed it. We were terribly disappointed with what happened at Bramall Lane. The reaction over the two away games has been excellent. It was important tonight that we got a win,” Wilder continued. “Our reaction to the disallowed goal and the missed penalty was excellent. But the quality of the second goal put us in the ascendancy and we were pretty comfortable after that. It wasn’t a lack of belief or quality. If we’re going to be in the shout for the top six then we’ve got to pick up points away from home and four points from six is a good effort.”
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