Patrick Bamford says he never lost belief in himself after he scored for the first time in over two years during Middlesbrough’s 2-1 home defeat to Southampton.
Jay Rodriguez and substitute Nathan Redmond put Saints two goals in front at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, with Bamford’s header getting one back for relegated Boro after Shane Long had missed a penalty.
The former Chelsea striker’s goal was his first in the Premier League and ended a drought that had lasted since April 2015, but he puts the miserable streak down to a lack of starting opportunities.
“It has been a while since I last scored – but every time I start a game, I believe that I will score,” Bamford told BBC Sport.
“I think I have only started two games in about two years though.”
760 – Patrick Bamford has scored his first competitive goal since netting for Middlesbrough v Wolves in April 2015 – 760 days ago. Overdue.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 13, 2017
On Boro’s latest defeat, Bamford added: “If we keep the majority of our squad together that experience counts in the Championship and we will look to get promoted back again.
“Even when we have played badly, we owe it to the fans because they have to spend their hard-earned money to come and watch us.
“Their missed penalty was a bit of a turning point but in the first half we weren’t up to scratch. We had to make a difference but it took until the penalty for us to do that.”
Steve Agnew, meanwhile, acknowledged Boro had not given their supporters enough this season after their dreadful run of form extended to one win in 20 league games.
“The supporters have been fantastic all season,” he said. “They have waited a long time to get back in the Premier League and we haven’t given them enough – we owed them that lap of appreciation at the end.
“Times like this are disappointing for all of us but most importantly it is about Middlesbrough getting into a position and a fantastic opportunity to bounce back.
“We were disappointed with the first-half performance. The penalty miss by Shane Long gave us the initiative and we took it. The goal from Patrick Bamford gave us confidence and belief but we didn’t get the equaliser.
“Patrick is a very talented young footballer who has not played as much as he would like.”
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) May 13, 2017
Saints boss Claude Puel, meanwhile, was relieved to see his side earn a first victory in six matches, one which moved them up to ninth in the table.
“It was a little difficult at the end of the game,” Puel, who made seven changes, said. “It was difficult to cope with the long balls but it was important to get a good result.
“We made seven changes and it is important for the squad – many players improve and can show that they have a good spirit.
“All of the players have done good work – we showed confidence. I hope we can finish strong with the two last games at home.”
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