Middlesbrough defender George Friend has admitted that his side were simply second best in Saturday's defeat to Hull City.
The Smoggies missed out on the chance to cement a place in the top two at the expense of their opponents, having slipped to a 3-0 reverse at the KC Stadium.
Friend believes that Hull's ability to capitalise on their chances proved to be the difference on the day, with Boro supporters enduring a disappointing afternoon on Humberside.
Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "They took their chances. They were a bit fortuitous with the second goal and the third goal was a bit of a mistake. But they've got good players and perhaps we didn't match them in all of the areas. They're very well organised and have a lot of players who were in the Premier League last year.
"I think [Nikica] Jelavic and [Robbie] Brady are the two I can think of who left - you could probably tell me more. But like I said, they're a strong team and were organised. Similarly against Rotherham we started well but didn't capitalise on the goal we scored and Saturday was the same.
"We started well and kept pushing on but they scored and as soon as the second went in it was effectively over. When you go to Hull and they score two goals with a team of that quality it's hard to get back. It's a shame for all those fans who travelled and were looking forward to the game - having built it up like we always do - that we couldn't get any points for them."
Boro, who are now four points off top spot, face a trip to Queens Park Rangers once Championship action resumes in just under two weeks' time.