Steve Morison does not feel Middlesbrough’s second-half revival should detract from the quality of his Cardiff side’s display in their 3-2 win at the Riverside Stadium.
Cardiff produced easily their best 45 minutes of the season as they raced into a three-goal lead at the break courtesy of goals from Callum O’Dowda, Mark Harris and Perry Ng.
Middlesbrough battled back after the break and two goals in the space of a minute from Duncan Watmore and Rodrigo Muniz ensured the Bluebirds had to survive some nervy late moments to claim their first away win of the season.
Morison admits his side were pinned back in the closing stages, but does not believe the frantic finale should overshadow an otherwise excellent display.
The Cardiff boss said: “We’re not Manchester City – we’re never going to dominate a game for 90 minutes. It was always going to be a different game in the second half, they were going to throw caution to the wind, but we were excellent in the first half.
“We had players that were having their first game in a while, so they were going to fatigue, and that happened. They (Middlesbrough) got two goals in quick succession, but we made a couple of changes to steady the ship and go and win the game.
“We’ve scored three goals away at Middlesbrough – it’s a tremendous performance. We’re not Man City and Liverpool so we’re not going to control and dominate games for 90 minutes. We try to, and we dominated the game without the ball for long spells.
“We knew we could hurt them if we pressed at the right times and it was all about taking our chances when we got them. We did that in the first half and unless you’re a top, top team then it’s just human nature to get a bit nervy and start defending a bit more.”
Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder admitted his side’s first-half defending left an awful lot to be desired, with his players the architects of their own downfall on a number of occasions.
Wilder said: “The defending was terrible. We were playing a team that weren’t on a great run and we wanted to get out of the traps, but we certainly didn’t do that.
“We made a fabulous fast start against Sunderland, where our intensity and decision-making were good, but the decision-making tonight, for all three goals, was really poor.
“If you give a team that’s struggling a bit of a leg-up, then they fancy it. I think we would have fancied it if we’d been handed three goals on a plate, because that’s what happened.
“There’s so many individual errors. The first goal, I’ve got an experienced player smashing a ball into a player who’s got three players around him. The second one, we intercept a loose pass and it’s our turn to play, but the skipper makes a mistake and we’re 2-0 down.
“There was a nervousness and edginess about us then and it spread right through the stadium. That was expected and deserved.
“The icing on the cake for them was their third goal, but there’s so many faults in that from our point of view in terms of the structure and how it should have been dealt with.”
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