GARETH Southgate praised the professional display that ended Middlesbrough’s away day horrors, but insisted no one was getting carried away.
Boro won at Swansea to end a run of 12 successive defeats on the road – a bout of terminal travel sickness that contributed heavily to the Teessiders’ relegation last term.
Their last win away from the Riverside had been a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Aston Villa last November – a result that took them up to the dizzy heights of eighth and made the tailspin to the Championship that followed all the more painful.
“An away win has been a long time coming, so it feels sweet,” admitted the manager. “There were times last season when we worked very hard on the road but never got the reward so I am pleased for the team and for the fans today. It was a thoroughly professional display. We were solid at the back, the boys in the middle worked incredibly hard and we created a lot of chances plus, of course, scored some good goals. But we can’t get carried away with ourselves. We know that.
“It was a good result and it will do a world of good for confidence – but if we are to be where we want to be then we will need to keep on getting result after result after result.”
The Teessiders went close after just seven minutes when David Wheater powered a header against the bar from an Adam Johnson corner then at the other end the Welsh outfit twice almost broke through but striker Stephen Dobbie put one effort wide and keeper Danny Coyne got down to save the other.
But with industrious Gary O’Neil outstanding, gradually Boro’s midfield got to grips with the game and their quality started to show. And once they made a fortuituous breakthrough with a Johnson strike on 32 minutes the outcome was never in doubt.
The England Under-21 international cut in from the left and hammered in a crisp low drive that he later admitted clipped an out-stretched defender’s leg before squeezing through a crowd to fly in at the far post. Marvin Emnes struck a sizzling second goal on 51 minutes. Alert flanker Mark Yeates cut out a sloppy pass wide on the right then picked out the Dutchman just outside the box and Emnes took a neat touch then unleashed a thunderbolt into the top left hand corner.
Boro wrapped the game up on 80 minutes as Johnson curled a corner to the near post for substitute Tuncay to glance home a header.
SWANSEA: De Vries, Williams, Tate, Monk, Rangel, Britton, Orlandi (Pintado 76), Dyer, MacDonald (Richards 63), Gower (Thomas 62), Dobbie. Subs (not used): Painter, Cornell, Bessone, Bond.
Booked: Orlandi, Dobbie.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Coyne, McMahon, Wheater, Huth, Williams, Grounds, Yeates (Arca 85), O’Neil, Adam Johnson, Lita (Franks 79), Emnes (Sanli 67). Subs (not used): Steele, Hoyte, Taylor, Hines.
Booked: Williams, O’Neil, McMahon, Huth.
Goals: Adam Johnson 32, Emnes 52, Sanli 82.
Referee: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire). Attendance: 16,201