Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was disappointed with the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, but congratulated his players on running the title contenders so close.
Diego Costa grabbed the only goal in an entertaining clash at the Riverside, with Boro presenting a threat throughout.
Karanka said: “Playing against teams like Chelsea, we knew that it was going to be a really, really tough game, but once again we showed everybody that we can compete against the best teams in the league and once again, one mistake punished us.
“To concede a goal from a set-piece is a mistake. I don’t want to blame any player because I say always we win as a team and we lose as a team, but when you concede a goal from a set-piece for me, it is a mistake.
“You can’t be pleased when you have lost a game, especially at home, but I am really pleased with the attitude of the players because because playing in the way that we have been doing in the last month and a half, we are in the right way.”
Twenty-year-old winger Adama Traore repeatedly threatened to make Chelsea pay for not killing off the game, but ultimately failed to capitalise on a series of chances.
Karanka said: “It’s normal that everybody is excited when he has the ball, but he has the ball three or four minutes in one game and the rest of the game is 87 minutes, so we have to be careful.
“He is doing really well, he is improving a lot, but he has much more to improve and much more to learn. Because he’s young, he can (improve) and, going in this way, for sure he can be a big, big player.”