Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray felt his side’s quality drove them onto a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough, despite admitting the “aesthetics weren’t so great,” in the Sky Bet Championship encounter.
Both teams went into the game without a league victory to show for their endeavours so far, but it was the hosts who edged it thanks to a 25th-minute penalty from former Boro forward Danny Graham.
That aside, chances were at a premium, though Marcus Browne hit a post for the visitors, who were also indebted to Darren Randolph for a super save.
After the game, Mowbray felt despite lacking that real touch of class in the game, his side deserved the win.
He said: “It was like a lot of games last season, the aesthetics weren’t so great, it wasn’t a great game but played between two pretty determined teams.
“Both teams were in the same situation, neither had won, both desperate for a victory but we were at home and needed to try and force the game, and probably for more than an hour I think we did.
“They came on strong in the end, have got some good players, but we got a clean sheet which is great for everybody, all the defenders really.
“We’re off and running and sometimes until you get that first win at the start of any season it can weigh heavy on your team, and yet they brought the quality to the party today that we know they have in abundance really – hard work, drive, desire, commitment, fighting for each other. It was all there and all on show, and we got the result.
“They (Middlesbrough) have good players, experienced players, but we got the result and I think we deserved it even though they came on strong in the last 20.”
For Middlesbrough, there was very little cutting edge, and striking the woodwork in the second half was an exception to the rule in terms of their performance.
They are one of five teams yet to taste victory in the Championship, and after the game, manager Jonathan Woodgate felt a “poor game” was decided on “fine margins.”
He said: “I thought it was a poor game really from both teams. I thought a draw would have been a fair result, I don’t think any team particularly dominated and like I say, football’s fine margins. They get the penalty and score, we hit the post late on.
“It was one of those games, but we need to really grind it out and get that result, a typical Championship game. You can’t always play well, but we move on and go again on Tuesday.
“I think it was a penalty, I could see from where I was. I’m not going to stand here and say I didn’t think it was, I’ll just be honest. I thought it was a penalty and the referee got it right. We need to do better in those situations.
“My players will keep on going and we’ll keep on working as hard as we can. I’ve said in the dressing room that I believe in every single one of them and my faith is 100 per cent behind them all.”