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Debutant Jack Butland helps Leeds United keep it clean with top display
Middlesbrough 0 Leeds United 0
Leeds boss Brian McDermott said he was happy to escape with a point in a game where in-form debutant goalkeeper Jack Butland made some crucial saves.
Boro enjoyed the best chances of a goalless encounter at the Riverside Stadium but failed to beat Butland, who made impressive blocks from Danny Graham and Kei Kamara.
“That’s a positive point for us,” said McDermott.
“Middlesbrough made it difficult for us and had some good chances.
“But Jack Butland was outstanding, the back four were excellent and the whole team put in a good shift.
“When we become a good side, a side capable of challenging in this division, then maybe we could have nicked that game 1-0 but we are not quite where we want to be as a team yet.
“But we kept a clean sheet and showed resilience, we just need to find that bit extra in the final third.”
The shut-out meant the hosts’ goal drought now stretches to six games and more than ten hours.
It was Boro’s third successive goalless draw at the Riverside and head coach Aitor Karanka said: “Yes it is six games without a goal and for that I am disappointed.
“I am always disappointed if we do not win. But if we play like we did today every week then the goals will arrive.
“We cannot become obsessed by the goal. We must just continue to play the best way we can as a team and will create chances and the moment will come.
“Last week at Watford I was not happy because the team did not function as I asked. This week they did so for that I am happy.
“We had good chances, the team was good. I am not saying we deserved to win but we played well.”
Both sides nearly broke the deadlock just before the break. Jimmy Kebe carried forward from a short free-kick on 40 minutes to find Noel Hunt and when he laid it off, Luke Murphy sent a low 20-yard effort fizzing just outside the far post.
Then Boro almost scored when a corner was only headed away as far as the edge of the box for Jacob Butterfield to unleash a screamer that an alert Butland did well to tip over.
Boro almost grabbed the opener within three minutes of the restart as Butterfield sent full back George Friend to the byline to drill in a low cross towards Dany Graham but defender Stephen War-nock got there first with a touch that forced keeper Butland into a point-blank reflex save.
Ross McCormack rattled the woodwork for Leeds on 83 minutes but the whistle had already gone for a foul on defender Jonathan Woodgate.