Sport Soccer

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Aitor Karanka never considered position as Middlesbrough missed out on targets

Head coach Aitor Karanka has insisted he is happy at Middlesbrough
Head coach Aitor Karanka has insisted he is happy at Middlesbrough

Aitor Karanka has insisted he never considered his position as Middlesbrough's head coach as his frustration at missing out on his January transfer targets threatened to boil over.

The Spaniard has taken aim at a section of the club's support and those attempting to push through his recruitment plans in January in recent weeks with his disappointment seemingly mounting by the day.

However, despite seeing Bojan Krkic, Robert Snodgrass and Jese Rodriguez slip from his grasp as Rudy Gestede, Patrick Bamford and Adlene Guedioura arrived at the Riverside Stadium, Karanka is adamant he is happy in his job.

He said: "My position? No. I don't know how I can make it clear because always there is something negative about me, my relationship with the players - everybody can see the commitment of the players on the pitch - or that I wanted to leave last season or I had been sacked this season.

"The best reason is that I am here, the team is competing every single game, the team is facing the best teams in the world and we are competing against every single team.

"We have an amazing challenge to stay in the Premier League and I am sure we will be in the Premier League next season."

That said, Karanka admitted his disappointment at the ones that got away as he sought to add creativity to a team which does not concede too many goals, but also does not score enough.

He said: "It's normal when you are expecting to sign players and in 24 hours, two or three players you were expecting don't arrive. As a coach, it's impossible to be happy, it's a normal frustration.

"But the transfer market has finished and always after the transfer window, I say my squad is the best squad in the world."

Karanka's mood as the transfer window approached its conclusion was not helped by midfielder Gaston Ramirez's decision to hand in a transfer request in an effort to push through a move to champions Leicester.

Boro rejected the Foxes' bid and Ramirez remains on Teesside, where he is close to returning to training after a knee injury.

Asked if he needed to sit down with the Uruguay international to discuss the psychological fall-out from a difficult few days, the head coach said: "No, no, I haven't spoken with him.

"But we don't need to speak to each other because both of us know that he is here and knowing his character, for sure he will want to show how good he is.

"He has been really, really important for us and for sure, he will be important for us in the future."

One man who did prove surplus to requirements was striker Jordan Rhodes, who joined Sheffield Wednesday on a loan deal which will become permanent at the end of the season.

Karanka said: "His attitude was good, but you have to make decisions and I didn't feel he was ready. But I hope he scores in this period 10 or 12 or 15 goals and next season, we will see him in the Premier League and play against him."

Press Association

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