Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray believes the scrappy 1-0 win over Blackburn at the Riverside was both well deserved and well timed.
Boro survived some scares, including the post being rattled after 30 seconds, but finished smiling after Lukas Jutkiewicz slammed home the winner in the second half after a polished move.
That helped Boro grind out a precious win on a day when promotion rivals Crystal Palace, Hull and Leicester all dropped points and as Boro edged back into third place, boss Mowbray said: "There were some big, big fixtures in the Championship today so it was vitally important that we won the game."
He added: "We were in this position last year but we drew too many games that cost us, but we have learned from that.
"Today was tough for us. Blackburn may have only won one game in 10 but they have a lot of quality players and they play good football. They made it difficult for us and created some good chances.
"So it may have been a close run thing but we deserved it. It was a fantastic effort by the team, they dug deep and got a very good goal then worked hard to hold on to it."
Blackburn boss Henning Berg admitted the familiar story of wasted chances was becoming tedious.
"We played well - maybe for spells we played better than Middlesbrough - and we created chances but we lost 1-0," he said. "It is very frustrating but it has been like that for eight weeks now. We are playing well but not winning games.
"In football you have to take your chances. Middlesbrough created maybe two or three and scored. We created three or four or five but we are going away with nothing.
"People talk about luck and say that we hit the post but it is time for us to create our own luck, start taking chances and start winning games."