Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka believes his side have shown they are now getting to grips with the Premier League following Monday’s 1-0 win over Hull.
Following their promotion to the top flight last term, the Teessiders have impressed with their defensive organisation but their strength at the back has often left them short of numbers going forward.
However, they seem to have found a better balance over the past couple of months and Gaston Ramirez’s second-half header against the Tigers extended their recent run to just one defeat in their last six Premier League outings.
It also lifted the Boro up to 13th in the table and has provided some daylight between themselves and the relegation places.
Next up are tough games against Southampton and Liverpool but their recent record will give them plenty of hope, especially with Swansea and Burnley also on the agenda in the near future.
Following some agonising defeats earlier in the campaign, Karanka feels his side are now fully into the swing of things in the Premier League.
“We are getting the experience and maturity with the points because I could tell how they felt on the pitch and how important the points were for us,” Karanka said after the Hull win.
“It’s massive because they are a direct opponent and apart from the score we showed we are better than them.”
Boro are 6.00 to win on Sunday at St Mary’s, with the draw 3.75 while Southampton are the 1.62 favourites.