Middlesbrough boss reveals what went right in victory over Sunderland
Chris Wilder says his side 'got what they needed out of the game' against a Sunderland side he described as 'fearless' on their return to the Championship.
The Black Cats dominated the second half but struggled to carve out clear chances and Wilder was thrilled to see his side produce a clean sheet.
"It was always going to be a tough night," Wilder said.
"There was a great atmosphere with both sets of supporters. It was a really competitive game, with chances at both ends. Possibly more chances for us first half. Sunderland no doubt dominated the second half.
"But we had two objectives tonight - we needed a clean sheet. However we did it, we just needed to do it. There was plenty of structuring in our shape defensively and an absolute desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net, and that ultimately sets you up to get a win when you can find the goal.
"We ultimately did find that goal but we would have liked to have found another one before half-time. Pritchard had a good early opportunity for them early on, but we had the better chances first half and Riley should probably score two more.
"You have to give credit to the opposition. I've been in that position before when you are a promoted side and you do play with that fearlessness and freedom when you get promoted. They played like that. It was maybe not one of our best performances.
“It wasn’t our best performance box to box, we turned over possession too easily, but we did what we needed to do to keep the ball out of the net. We had to show different qualities and characteristics. From our point of view, it wasn’t a fabulous performance, but the amount of times we’ve played well and not got the result. We weren’t at our best, but we got what we needed to get out of the game.”