Karanka delight as Boro are promoted
Aitor Karanka will lead Middlesbrough back into the Premier League next season after dismissing reports linking him with a move away from the Riverside Stadium.
Speculation has swirled over Karanka's future on Teesside after a bizarre mid-season bust-up which saw him stay at home while his club slumped to a potentially crucial defeat at Charlton.
However, mutual faith was emphatically restored as Cristhian Stuani's early goal paved the way for Boro to claim the 1-1 draw they required against promotion rivals Brighton in order to book their return to the top-flight after a seven-year absence.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton indicated the club is likely to appeal against the 58th-minute sending-off of Dale Stephens for a foul on Gaston Ramirez which saw the Uruguayan player carried off.
Hughton was particularly incensed that referee Mike Dean appeared ready to show Stephens - who had pulled Brighton level just three minutes earlier - a yellow card before his assistants intervened.
Hughton said: "Sometimes you have to go with your gut feelings at the time. I thought I had a good view and it was nowhere near a red card."
"I know at the time the referee pulled out a yellow card but he was persuaded by his officials that it was worth more than that, despite them being 35 to 40 yards away.
"I have no problems with referees and officials working together as a team but if that's the case they've got to get the decisions right and on this occasion they didn't do that."
Describing his chief emotion as "pride" in his side's performance, Hughton immediately turned his sights on the difficult task of raising spirits for the upcoming play-off semi-finals against Sheffield Wednesday.
Hughton added: "What we absolutely know is that we don't have time to be too down about it. It is a distraught changing room but you want them to feel that way because you know what it means to them.
"We are still going into the play-offs on a good run and we've got to take positives out of this game - and there will be some positives.
"We've certainly surpassed all our expectations but at the moment we're not thinking about what we've done so far, but what we can hopefully still do.
"We still have two more opportunities to do that and hopefully get to the final. The good news is we are still in there, but we are going to have to show some fight to do that."