YOUNG defender Ben Gibson thinks Middlesbrough are showing plenty of promise under Aitor Karanka despite suffering a second defeat in three matches.
TALKING SHOP: Ben Gibson discusses the game with Richie Smallwood on Wednesday night
Boro were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at Derby County on Wednesday night when Conor Sammon struck the winner in the last minute to leave the visitors deflated.
But Gibson feels there were more positives to be taken from the performance at Pride Park, given how Middlesbrough had to play an hour with ten men after Curtis Main's first half sending off.
The defeat extended a miserable away record of five straight defeats, including the loss at Leeds United in Karanka's first game in charge when goalkeeper Jason Steele was red carded.
Gibson said: “I thought it was credit to us that Derby didn’t capitalise on the advantage. We kept them at bay and coped very well. As a defensive unit and a midfield unit we shuffled very well across the pitch so to get caught out at the end we feel very unlucky.
“We’ve done a lot of work as a defensive unit and there are signs things are changing. We definitely showed that in the Bolton game and again at Derby. For large parts of the game we’ve kept them at bay and it’s been two split seconds at the end of each half that have cost us and we have to learn from it.”
With Birmingham, sitting a level on points with Middlesbrough, up next tomorrow, Karanka has to make sure his players do not suffer any lingering effects from the events at Derby.
Gibson said: “There’s no time to sulk and feel hard done by. You have to recover probably and get back into it. We have to learn from what we’ve experienced.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to get three points from Birmingham and aim to get a run of games when we’re going to get good results.
He added: “We do have to stop giving ourselves a mountain to climb with the red cards in the first half but I thought on a positive point of view the lads reacted really well and we were unlucky to lose a goal on the stroke of half time.
“We responded, we said we could stay in the game and we knew if we’d get one chance we would take it. We did that, but somehow we came away with no points and we feel very aggrieved.”
Middlesbrough, who will have Grant Leadbitter back at Birmingham after a one-match ban, will now be missing Main for the trip to St Andrew's.
It is a blow to the young forward after he was given a chance from the start at Pride Park by Karanka, only to be dismissed for two first half yellow cards.
Gibson said: “He’s not a malicious player at all. He’s young and he’s come in to take his opportunity as I have and he did what we asked him to do which was press them and get in amongst them and that’s what he tried to do.
“It’s something he will learn from. I know the type of man he is and he won’t want that to happen again.
“It won’t faze him. He’s hungry, I’m hungry. We all are as young lads and it was just a case of him trying to do his best for the team. On this occasion it didn’t work but on another day it will he just has to keep on working.”