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Scott Parker was delighted that Fulham piled some pressure on the Championship’s top two by beating Middlesbrough tonight – but also hailed the way his side married their pretty football with a steely determination to grind out a win.

Fulham were good value for their victory over in-form Boro and should have scored more than Anthony Knockaert’s early close-range finish, but Parker was pleased that the Whites were able to leap above local rivals Brentford before the Bees, Leeds and West Bromwich Albion play their fixtures tomorrow.

It’s always good to play early and before the teams above who you are trying to chase. You put that pressure on. The main aim for us is to focus on ourselves and keep working out what gets you results in this league, and what gets you results is an endeavour, a work ethic. And we’ve shown that the last few weeks.

Parker also applauded his side’s sheer grit as they survived a much improved Boro showing in the second half, with new arrival Michael Hector to the fore.

At times this year we have been in a good position and we’ve slipped up and we’ve hit little bumps. But we have to concentrate on ourselves and keep winning games but ultimately keep producing what we produced tonight. I think you have seen two sides of this team which pleases me most. The first half you saw a team that moved the ball well and in the second half you saw a grittiness to us.

The Fulham head coach was happy to claim three points in the absence of star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic – appreciating the movement of his forwards in a first half that the home side dominated.

You miss Aleks and what he brings to this team but I thought the way we played and what the players did, how we looked in the first half was very pleasing for me really. The first half I thought we were fantastic in what we did, the way we played, the way we moved the ball. Everything we worked on in the week worked well.

Two or three nil at half-time I think would have been a fair reflection of what we did. And in the second half really we were just searching for that second goal to take a deep breath and see the game out. But we saw the game out and kept a clean sheet which was key and a good performance all round.