Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick was left to rue what he deemed to be a foul in the build-up to West Brom’s opening goal as Boro were beaten 4-2 at The Hawthorns.
Carrick’s winless side, who reached the Championship play-offs last season, suffered their third defeat in four matches after going down to Carlos Corberan’s Baggies.
The hosts took control of the match with two goals in quick succession midway through the first half, but Carrick bemoaned referee Jeremy Simpson’s decision to not award a free-kick to Jonny Howson prior to Cedric Kipre opening the scoring.
“It’s a big moment,” Carrick said.
“It’s hard not to get too frustrated, but I thought it was a clear two-handed push. You’re going to suffer things which go against you over a season. I’m not going to sit here and say everything is fantastic because we haven’t won yet, but equally there’s more to it than that.”
Although Middlesbrough, who had Tommy Smith sent off just after half-time following a second booking, have begun the season slowly, Carrick remains encouraged with many aspects of what he has seen from his team, which is still finding its feet after the loss of top scorers Chuba Akpom and Cameron Archer over the course of the summer.
Carrick added: “I feel for the boys. There are two sides of it – there’s the result which you can’t hide from, but it’s what happens within that which leads to the result.
“We’ve conceded four shots on target, and four goals. One is a foul, one was a mistake and for a large part I thought there were a lot of good things. We have finished the game strong with 10 men. I was encouraged by things I’m seeing – it’s a strange feeling in many ways.
“You can’t hide from it, but it doesn’t knock my belief in the boys in the squad. We keep doing a lot of things we’re doing and the results will come.”
West Brom quickly backed up Kipre’s 22nd-minute opener with John Swift’s superb 27th-minute thunderbolt, but Boro replied a minute later through Emmanuel Latte Lath.
Albion struck quickly in the second period through Brandon Thomas-Asante before Smith was sent off and, although Boro responded again via Marcus Forss’ late penalty, Jeremy Sarmiento sealed the points in stoppage time for the hosts.
Despite making it two wins from two at home this season, Baggies boss Corberan still sees room for improvement in his side.
“It was hard for me, emotionally, to see that we were better than them at 2-0 and you go to 2-1. We need to control better some moments of the game, in some areas of the pitch, to stop conceding goals that we need to avoid,” he said.
“At 3-1, we were allowed to be more dominant in attack without hurting them, and the red card meant we had a numerical advantage. Sometimes when you have the ball so much, you lose concentration. We started to relax in defence.
“In some moments they found ways to create chances against us. This is something I want to correct, because I want a strong team in attack and a strong team in defence. The fact that we score goals doesn’t mean anything.”