Tony Mowbray praised the "quality and the grit" of his Middlesbrough side after they continued their unbeaten run on the road with a 1-0 triumph at Crystal Palace.
Marvin Emnes' second-half strike sent the Teesiders to the top of the npower Championship, despite having Joe Bennett sent off for two bookable offences, leaving Mowbray delighted with his side's commitment.
"The game panned out pretty much as I thought it would, and credit to Palace. I didn't think it would be an expansive match with load of goals in it. To score against Palace is a difficult thing to do," he said.
"We can talk about the quality of the commitment, we scored a lot of goals and we're a team that is working hard for each other. The quality and the grit of the side was shown here, but we've won more comfortably in the past than we have here.
Palace had the better of the first half and Paddy McCarthy should have opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when he headed Darren Ambrose's free-kick wide.
A minute later, Jermaine Easter's thundering drive from outside the box was fingertipped away by Boro goalkeeper Carl Ikeme. The visitors stunned the home fans 20 minutes into the second half when Emnes half-volleyed unmarked to net his eighth goal of the campaign.
Easter should have levelled the score with seven minutes remaining, as his close range effort ricocheted off the crossbar and away to safety. And Palace manager Dougie Freedman felt his side lacked the experience to get the points.
"My assessment was that it was a very close game. In the end, when they were down to 10 men, they showed more nous," he said. "Until then I felt we had a good game. It was a deserved draw, and a good game. We came very close but they were down to 10 men and we were impatient to get the goal.
"I l felt they didn't cut us open at all, even though Boro are a very good side. In the end the lack of defensive duties cost us the game. They had one clear-cut chance which they converted, they were more of a team. We had a couple of decent chances.
"I thought we were decent, but we were naive in the last 20 minutes - we kept rushing our crosses. It's just where we are with the youngsters right now."
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