Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka says he always had faith in Victor Valdes, after the goalkeeper’s fine display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City.
Ex-Barcelona keeper Valdes, 34, made several key saves at the Etihad Stadium despite a nasty cut on his thigh.
However his early Boro career has not been so smooth, notably engaging in an on-pitch argument with team-mate Adam Clayton in the defeat by Tottenham.
“I had no doubt in him, even during the worst moments,” Karanka told BBC Tees.
“I knew he was a brilliant player, who has had difficult moments in his [Boro] career and life and now he’s playing at his best.
“He’s brilliant on the pitch and in the changing room as well. Saves like those are the reason he is here.”
De Roon’s delight
Dutch midfielder Marten De Roon was Boro’s hero at the other end of the field, netting in injury time to deny Pep Guardiola’s side top spot in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old, another pre-season arrival at the Riverside from Italian side Atalanta, missed the draw at Arsenal with an injury but returned to score his first goal for the club.
“If anyone deserves to score, then it’s Marten,” head coach Karanka added.
“He was disappointed by his injury over the past few weeks, so to score that goal is important.”