AITOR Karanka shrugged off Middlesbrough’s defeat in his first game in charge and hailed the attitude of his players as they battled with 10 men against Leeds.
The former Real Madrid defender saw goalkeeper Jason Steele sent off shortly before the interval but was happy with what his side accomplished afterwards in the 2-1 loss at Elland Road and is now convinced they can climb the Sky Bet Championship table
Karanka said: “It would have been better if we had won, but I am happy because we played very well in the second half when we were down to 10 players.”
Karanka side-stepped questions about Steele’s dismissal for charging out of the penalty area and bringing down Leeds striker Dexter Blackstock.
“I prefer to talk about the team and how we were still in the game until the final whistle,” he said.
“I have had just 10 days with the players but they have shown a good attitude and with that we can build.
“Even so, there may be changes for the next game, depending on what I see on the training ground.”
Boro were depleted from the 43rd minute when Steele sprinted outside his penalty area and brought down Blackstock with a clumsy lunge.
Steele angrily challenged the decision in vain and Karanka immediately sent on Basel-born keeper Jayson Leutwiler, sacrificing Marvin Emnes.
Ross McCormack headed Leeds into a 35th-minute lead with his seventh goal in three games.
Despite being a man down in the second half, Boro equalised. Albert Adomah’s superb through ball split Leeds’ defence wide open and Mustapha Carayol swept a first time shot past Paddy Kenny.
They were leave empy-handed, though, after Jason Pearce nodded Leeds back in front five minutes later.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce, Pugh (Byram 81), Murphy (Brown 88), Austin, Mowatt, McCormack, Blackstock (Smith 81). Subs Not Used: Varney, Tonge, Poleon, Cairns. Booked: Pugh. Goals: McCormack 35, Pearce 57.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Richardson, Woodgate, Ayala, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter, Smallwood (Jutkiewicz 82), Carayol (Main 67), Emnes (Leutwiler 44), Kamara. Subs Not Used: Rhys Williams, Butterfield, Whitehead, Gibson. Sent Off: Steele (43). Booked: Ayala, Woodgate, Friend. Goals: Carayol 52.
Att: 30,367 Ref: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands).