AITOR KARANKA hailed Middlesbrough's all-round performance as they kicked off the Championship season with a 2-0 win over Birmingham City.

Goals from Daniel Ayala and Kike secured Boro's first opening-day win for six years as the Teessiders proved much too strong for a below-par Blues.

Kike caught the eye throughout with his impressive movement and slick interplay, with Lee Tomlin also producing an excellent display in the hole just behind the Spanish striker.

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The pair's relationship already looks like being a major positive for Boro this season, but Karanka was keen to praise the quality of his side's overall display rather than single out individuals.

The Boro head coach said: "The fans who came today will go away thinking we have a team, and it is much better to think about the team.

"Kike played very well, but I would not like to put one player above the team. The team is the most important thing."

Karanka was pleased with his side's performance on the opening weekend, but is not about to start getting carried away after just one match.

He said: "It's a very long and tough race. It was important to win, but it was just the first game.

"You think you know how your team has shaped up, but you never know what will happen until you play. I know we have a very good group, but this is just the first game."