Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk suffered his first home defeat since taking over at the Riverside in the summer – as James Maddison’s goal secured all three points for Norwich last night.
But the Boro chief was keen not to over-react to a first defeat in eight in all competitions.
He watched his side dominate, racking up 12 corners to Norwich’s one, and create numerous more chances than their opponents, only to come up short.
Monk said: “I’m frustrated, of course. We all are, the players are as well.
“We gifted them the goal so paid the price. Lessons need to be learned. We have done that in other games and we have shown the character and determination to get back in but you can’t continually do that, where we gift a goal to the opposition.
“You saw for the rest of the game where they had 10 behind the ball on their six-yard box and we knew that was coming.
“Realistically, we should have scored, but too many times we didn’t deliver the right ball and that right pass in the final third.
“The effort and commitment is always there, but we can’t keep gifting a head start. We have done that recently but too many times we have made mistakes. It’s not like teams are coming and opening us up, we can’t do that continually.”
Maddison, 20, netted a brilliant winner in the 12th minute to lift the Canaries level on points with Boro.
The goal was gifted to them by Dael Fry. The young defender gave the ball away too cheaply on the left after a Norwich counter-attack.
Marley Watkins rolled it into the path of Maddison and he did the rest, with a curling right-footed finish inside the top right corner from 25 yards.
Boro could not find a way through Norwich’s impressive defence and goalkeeper.
The Canaries have now gone seven hours and 48 minutes without conceding, while Boro lost at home on a midweek night for the first time since 2011, halting a run of 28 matches.
Boro went closest when Britt Assombalonga’s back-post header bounced across goal and was cleared after a decent run and delivery from winger Marvin Johnson, while two late penalty shouts were waved away.
Norwich boss Daniel Farke said: “I have compliments for the lads – this was a brilliant win. Our defence was brilliant. It’s a good thing when you are able to improve. We will see how good we can be. This is a big result.”
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson, Da Silva (Braithwaite 70), Howson, Clayton (Fletcher 60), Traore (Bamford 80), Baker, Johnson, Assombalonga. Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Shotton, Leadbitter. Booked: Howson.
Norwich: Gunn, Ivo Pinto, Zimmermann, Klose, Husband, Tettey, Trybull, Wildschut (Stiepermann 70), Maddison (Hanley 90), Watkins, Jerome (Oliveira 85). Subs not used: Reed, Hoolahan, Franke, McGovern. Booked: Wildschut, Ivo Pinto, Tettey, Stiepermann. Goal: Maddison 13.
Att: 24,084. Ref: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).