Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate was keen to keep his feet on the ground after his side defeated Charlton 1-0 at the Valley to climb out of the bottom three.
Boro’s victory, the first since New Year’s Day, took them out of the Championship relegation places, with their opponents replacing them in the bottom three.
Despite having a gap of two points between themselves and the drop zone, Woodgate was fully aware of the amount of games left – and the likelihood of more twists and turns.
He said: “All results are big at this time. All we do is to look to the next game. Let’s not put points figures on it, and what it takes to stay up – just one game at a time.
“We’re still in the dog fight, don’t get excited because we’ve won one game. That won’t be happening in the dressing room.
“I’m really pleased. Today I thought we were exceptional at times in the game today, we created a lot of opportunities and it could have been more than one goal.
“I asked for more intensity in the second half, I didn’t want us to drop off and we didn’t.
“It’s going to be nervy towards the end, it’s the nature of every league in the world – if you’re winning one-nil with a few minutes to go, tell me a manager who doesn’t get nervous.”
A Paddy McNair first-half effort proved the difference between the two sides, although Middlesbrough looked the brighter side throughout the game.
Charlton forward Lyle Taylor had the first chance after 16 minutes, when he put a cross by Andre Green over the bar.
The visitors took the lead a minute later after McNair slotted home past goalkeeper Dillon Phillips, after connecting with a Rudy Gestede pass.
Charlton boosted their forward line at half-time, with Macauley Bonne replacing George Lapslie.
Middlesbrough still looked for the comfort of a second goal, with Jonny Howson and Marcus Tavernier creating efforts.
The hosts had their moments of danger. Darren Pratley slipped at the wrong moment after being fed in by Bonne.
The substitute came closest for the hosts in injury time. Deji Oshilaja crossed the ball in from the right, but Bonne was unable to keep his connecting header down and aimed agonisingly over the bar.
Defeat was the third in a row for Charlton, who slip into the bottom three and face a massive game against fellow strugglers Hull City next Saturday.
It was a frustrating afternoon for manager Lee Bowyer, who felt that his side were once again guilty of poor play at the worst possible time.
He said “We deserved something from the game but you can’t give teams one-nil leads and we’ve done that in the last two weeks.
“You keep doing that you’re not going to win games, simple as that – we’re not good enough to give them one-nil leads and to try and come back and win.
“We have to learn from that, you can’t afford to gift them goals. Like last week it’s a schoolboy thing, just basic, so poor.
“It’s so tight down the bottom. If we won today we’d have probably climbed three places I think.
“There’s a long way to go. I said to the players, the most important thing is that we stick together – no passing the blame on to other people, it’s the last thing we need to do.”
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