Boro boss Garry Monk was pleased to see Patrick Bamford bag his first goals of the season in a 2-0 Carabao Cup win at Aston Villa.
A month since he last started a Championship fixture, Bamford netted twice in the second half to secure victory at Villa Park.
The 24-year-old proved a troublesome opponent for Villa’s skipper Tommy Elphick, who was sent off in the 58th minute for conceding a penalty with a foul on Bamford.
The striker picked himself up to open the scoring and sealed Villa’s fate nine minutes later with another goal to produce Boro’s first League Cup win over the midlands club in five encounters.
Monk said: “Strikers will always be judged on the goals they score. Personally, I judge them on the work they do and how they play for the team.
“I look at goals as an added bonus. I think all the players, including Patrick, have been working incredibly hard all season. He has done extremely well and goals will boost his confidence.
“Strikers do not score in every game and he has had a period when he has not scored but he has to trust in hard work and trying to improve himself.
“We dominated the game from start to finish and thoroughly deserved the win.”
“The sending off was a classic game changer. It was a red card.
“Going down to 10 men and with Bamford converting the penalty it became very difficult against a decent side.