Middlesbrough could have gone second with a win over Wolves on Tuesday night; however, lost convincingly to another promotion rival.
The loss, which saw them drop to three points behind league leaders Derby County, brought an impressive seven match unbeaten run to an end.
Bakary Sako gave Wolves the lead from the penalty spot before former Wigan Athletic striker Nouha Dicko doubled the home team’s advantage with a powerful finish.
After the match, Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka blamed himself for the loss in the West Midlands due to not choosing the right players to play.
‘‘The person who made the first mistake was me,’ said Karanka. ‘’I didn’t choose the right players to play.’’
‘’I am the person who made the first mistake and after that we couldn’t play in the way we wanted to play.
‘’We didn’t play like we know we can play, we didn’t play with the right intensity.’’
Although Karanka failed to single any one player out, the Middlesbrough fans were left debating who he meant with the comment: ‘’I didn’t choose the right players to play’’
Middlesbrough’s local newspaper – The Gazette – ran a poll on the first XI and asked supporters who they thought Mourinho’s old assistant meant by his comment.
The talented young Chelsea forward, Patrick Bamford, was by far and away the favoured choice, with Belgium international Jelle Vossen, Dean Whithead and another Chelsea player in the Kenneth Omeruo all making the top four.
Middlesbrough have another big game on Saturday and another chance to jump into the top two as they host second placed Watford at the Riverside stadium.
The team selection by Karanka should clearly show who he meant in his post-match comments and the absence of Bamford would all but confirm he was the intended target, along with other potential absentees.