sport

Sannino: Both reds were right

Giuseppe Sannino praised the spirit of his Watford team after they beat Middlesbrough 1-0 to move to within six points of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.

The Hornets took the lead through a Troy Deeney penalty five minutes into the second half, only to be reduced to 10 men soon after when Samba Diakite was sent off for a two-footed challenge.

However, the red card count was quickly levelled up when Boro defender Ben Gibson was dismissed for a second booking.

The Watford boss had no complaints with the two dismissals and said: "I think if the referee sent them off they deserved to be sent off.

"What I did like was all the game, not part of the game, because my team were able to suffer.

"They work as a unit, as a team and I'm very happy about my lads."

Despite the nature of Diakite's sending off, Sannino had sympathy for the on-loan QPR midfielder, who was making his first start for Watford.

"I feel sorry for Diakite because he's been sent off and because it was the first game that he was starting in a Watford shirt. Not for the tackle, I'm sorry for him," Sannino said.

"It was an important moment of the game but the sending-off allowed my team to show to us, to you, good spirit and (Fernando) Forestieri was able to drop into midfield and do another role and I'm happy about that.

"Forestieri was winning a lot of tackles in the defensive phase so I think that he understood the soul of this team and behind Forestieri all my team was able to show to me some soul."

Gibson received his second yellow card for trying to prevent goalkeeper Jonathan Bond from clearing his lines and Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka also had no complaints about the decision.

He said: "I didn't see it but it's a mistake. When you have one yellow card, you can't do this. You need to be more intelligent and we lost the game for our mistakes.

"We were losing but we were one man more and I thought with the three subs I had made we could change the score but five minutes later Gibson was sent off and the game was very, very difficult.

"The problem is the mistakes. It's not the mentality or the capacity of my players because we played today at 100 per cent like we played a lot of games in the past.

"We could beat Watford playing with 11 players, playing with 10 players but when we don't play like we can it's difficult to win.

This was Boro's fifth consecutive game without scoring and asked about the lack of goals, Karanka replied: "Sometimes it can be luck but sometimes it's because you didn't do everything to score goals and when you don't do those things it's more difficult.

"Today and in other games, like Doncaster, we didn't do the good things. We played very well in the last game at home to Blackburn and we had a lot of chances and I thought we were unlucky, but today I didn't."