I know it’s easy to say when you’ve won away, but I seriously think I’d be saying the same if Boro had pulled a goal back.
That was simply a professional performance from the lads today and Steve Bruce and his team can take a big pat on the back from me for calling it pretty much perfect.
I thought we were somewhat fortunate to get the goal (A Grealish corner to Jedinak, who did very well to place his header, given that it was slightly behind him) against the run of play, but that’s how it goes.
The truth is that while Boro at times looked very dangerous, so I’m struggling to think of any really good chances they had.
I honestly don’t remember Johnstone being posed any serious problem at all. Maybe I’m being blinkered there.
Whereas we got the goal and Snodgrass had an absolutely cracking effort that would have had Beckham fans wetting themselves, superbly saved and touched onto the post.
2-0 probably wouldn’t have been unfair, let alone 1-0.
I think we played a pretty conservative game, albeit one that was made easier with us taking the lead.
The onus was on Boro to try and get one back and they certainly tried, but I thought our defence was immense.
We attacked when the time was right, but spent much of our time defending, which is interesting as Bruce said after the game that we played too deep, particularly in the second half.
Perhaps that’s where the experience of the players really comes in? Where they can over-ride the manager’s wishes?
I don’t know, but you can’t fault the result, can you?
Terry and Chester (who did get caught out once) had pretty much everything in their pockets and when they didn’t, Hutton and Elmohamady were backing up.
In fact, everyone worked their socks off in helping out in defence.
Even Jack Grealish, who made some very good tackles, while in the process of getting a bit of stick.
I said that one of the best duals would be Traore and Hutton and while Traore looked really dangerous, so Hutton had him very much under his control, whatever side the ex-Villan was playing. Hutton’s class and I really hope he doesn’t leave this summer.
Whatever, he edged Grealish out for MOTM, for me.
So where does that leave us?
Well, while it isn’t on easy street, we’re now in a very good position, although I could easily see Boro pinching one exactly the same as we did.
Even so, Boro will have to go some to beat us over two legs now.
And if we can’t get the result from this position, well we just won’t deserve it, will we?
I’m certainly more confident now than I was before the game.
The only concern is Elmo having to go off.
Let’s hope he’s ok.
Happy days and UTV!