Ben Gibson insists that Middlesbrough deserved all three points from Saturday’s Championship trip to Nottingham Forest.
Yet the Teessiders are licking their wounds following a second successive away Championship loss, going down 2-1 to efforts from Barrie McKay and Daryl Murphy.
Gibson headed a late consolation for Boro and Britt Assombalonga – who earlier squandered three clear opportunities – had an effort ruled out for offside after that.
And centre-back Gibson said: “We came here and we were clearly the better team in my opinion, albeit not at our best.
“We deserved not just something from the game, we deserved to win it.
“I think we can be better. We’ve got to be more clinical, and we’ve got to defend better for the two goals.
“But look, we could have scored enough goals to win four games (on Saturday). That’s the positives to take – in the past we haven’t created enough, bit we’ve got to learn a lesson from it.”
Kieran Dowell laid on a 16th minute Forest opener.
The on-loan Everton man’s first touch and turn split the Boro defence, before he slotted a precise ball into the path of McKay, who fired calmly beyond the advancing Randolph.
Ben Brereton, on for injured ex-Sunderland mdifielder David Vaughan, was a key figure as Forest doubled their advantage, with referee Graham Scott pointing to the spot after Gibson had grappled him to the floor.
Former Black Cats forward Murphy swept a precise penalty to Darren Randolph’s left and into the bottom corner.
Boro got one back when a corner was half-cleared and, when Dael Fry sent the ball back into the danger zone, Gibson swept it high into the back of the net.
Boro boss Garry Monk admitted: “It was frustrating. I feel for the players in terms of how we can come off that pitch without winning. After the first 20 or 25 minutes when they got the goal and had a good period, we got on top and then from that point it was one-way traffic.
“We created numerous chances which we should have really taken, but I can’t fault the commitment, the attitude and the way we played.
“On another day, we would have come away with all three points, so it’s frustrating to come away with nothing whatsoever. We have to accept that and be ready for the next game.”
Boro host Scunthorpe in the Carabao Cup tomorrow.
Nottm Forest: Smith, Darikwa, Worrall, Mills, Traore (Lichaj 77), Bouchalakis, Vaughan (Brereton 37), McKay (Mancienne 66), Dowell, Osborn, Murphy. Subs not used: Clough, Carayol, Evtimov, Cummings. Booked: Darikwa, Traore. Goals: McKay 16, Murphy 79 pen.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Clayton (Fletcher 77), Forshaw (Traore 46), Bamford (Baker 62), Assombalonga, Gestede. Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Da Silva, Leadbitter, Roberts. Booked: Clayton, Fry, Assombalonga, Gibson. Goal: Gibson 83
Att: 26,265. Ref: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)