That is what’s called a masterclass. Brighton were shown exactly what a quality side is all about.
With Jose Mourinho watching the mighty Boro from the stands, it really is clear who the real ‘Special One’ is. Aitor!
If we could have written how the game would unfold, we probably couldn’t have imagined anything better. Two perfectly timed goals in the first-half, one in the first few minutes and the second just before half-time, saw us put a real choke hold on the game and let us play how we wanted. Any plans Brighton had of keeping it tight and being patient were put to bed before half-time. The third goal was the icing on the cake and displayed something that we have lacked at times – the ability to kill teams off.
Despite a great first-half performance, George (Friend) said they got a ‘rollicking’ at half-time, which just shows the level of performance that AK demands. He’s a winner, and that winning mentality means the expected standards are high.
All the players need to be congratulated on an outstanding performance in a game that in seasons gone by we would have lost. However, there is no player that signifies what this Boro team is all about more than Adam Clayton.
With another outstanding performance under his belt, Clayts really is showing himself to be the driving force not only in midfield, but throughout the team. Week in, week out, he shows the determination and willingness to win that any club would want from any player. He really is setting the standard.
Of course, for all the great performances that you see from Adam Clayton, an equally important figure is the linchpin that is Dani Ayala. The towering defender makes every ball his own and is the cement that holds such a solid defence together. His consistency is important.
I also have to mention Kike’s effort also. A player who looked at one time to be no more than a fringe player may just keep Nugent out when he is eligible to play. He still has a lot to prove but certainly did his bit against Brighton, setting up 2, and working really hard.
Whilst talking about forwards, I still think, despite a good performance, that Stuani is a little wasted on the wing; he has a clear ability to score goals and up front, I think he could be explosive.
With such a great team performance, it may seem strange to say that I still think that we can get even better. I still don’t think that is the best we have to offer. We are still evolving, still growing and the thought of what we could be is a really exciting prospect. We are in the best position we have been in for a long time, in both the league position and the structure of the club, but performances like that against Brighton and Burnley have just scratched the surface of the potential this team has.
Of course, the real key to such a great win is following it up with another, but for now, we can go into Christmas enjoying being top of the table.
Life’s been good as a Boro fan so far this season – and it just got even better.
Have a Happy ‘Top of the table’ Christmas.
Come on Boro!
Russ Johnson (@iRussJ)