Karanka: Time right to be boss

NEW Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka believes the time is right to step out of Jose Mourinho's shadow after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Tony Mowbray at the Riverside Stadium.

The Spaniard was unveiled yesterday. Karanka (pictured) worked for three years under Mourinho at Real Madrid before leaving the club when the Portuguese departed to rejoin Chelsea in the summer.

And Karanka revealed Mourinho encouraged him to take the job despite Boro's current perilous position just five points clear of the Championship relegation zone. Karanka said: "I have been three years with Jose Mourinho and he was supporting me every day. I learned from him and his staff and I think I am ready to start."

Fulham get Meulensteen

Fulham chief executive officer Alistair Mackintosh believes the club can now boast one of the "best coaches in the world" after the appointment of Rene Meulensteen to Martin Jol's staff.

Meulensteen was named as Fulham's head coach, working alongside under-pressure manager Jol, whose side are languishing in the Premier League relegation zone after a run of just three wins in 11 games.

Meulensteen, who left Manchester United's coaching team in the summer following Alex Ferguson's departure and subsequently had an ill-fated spell at Anzhi Makhachkala, will take up the role immediately. "We have been able to bring one of the best coaches in the world to Fulham," said Mackintosh.