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Aitor Karanka gives little away about Middlesbrough interest in Gestede


Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough held Premier League champions Leicester goalless

Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough held Premier League champions Leicester goalless

Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough held Premier League champions Leicester goalless

Aitor Karanka evaded questions regarding Middlesbrough's interest in signing Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede after his side's dour goalless draw against Leicester.

Villa are understood to have accepted a fee in the region of £6million for the Benin forward who was left out of the squad for his side's Sky Bet Championship trip to Cardiff on Monday.

Gestede is believed to be on Teesside to tie up the deal but Karanka denied having met the player and added: "I want to finish the transfer market with a better squad than we have now and we have one month.

"I think for us it's about keeping going. We know it's going to be difficult to win games because we can't forget we were in the Championship last season. When we take our chances we will win games."

Karanka had an issue with the failure of referee Robert Madley to award a first-half penalty after Adama Traore tumbled under the challenge of Robert Huth, with the Boro boss claiming Huth had accepted his escape was fortunate.

However the suggestion was laughed off by Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who responded to the suggestion that Boro might have felt hard done by over the spot-kick by responding: "It that is a penalty, I am the pope."

Karanka sought to accentuate the positives from an eminently forgettable game, insisting another point against the Foxes, coming soon after November's 2-2 draw at the Walkers Stadium, underlined his side's Premier League credentials.

He added: "I am really pleased with the performance because when we played away against them we were better than them, and we showed again today that we are better than them.

"We can't forget that this season they are not in a comfortable position but they are in the Champions League and they are a really good team, so for us to play them twice and show we could have won those games is very pleasing."

Ranieri was equally coy about his own side's January transfer targets, even insisting of his side's reported main target, Genk's Wilfred Ndidi: "I haven't seen Ndidi - I don't know who he is."

In the absence of Islam Slimani due to illness, as well as Danny Drinkwater who was left out as a precaution after his recent injury, Ranieri said he could take plenty of positives from the point.

"We had a good spirit and one point is okay - the second clean sheet in a row is good for us," added Ranieri.

"Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed.

"I remember the first match against them they won all the first balls and second balls, and today we won a lot of tackles. We worked very well in midfield and I explained how we have to move on and show a good attitude."

PA Media