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Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has Crystal Palace sussed


Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is preparing his side to face Crystal Palace

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is preparing his side to face Crystal Palace

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is preparing his side to face Crystal Palace

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka claims Crystal Palace have no secrets going into Saturday's relegation scrap at Selhurst Park.

Both sides are fighting for their Premier League lives, with Palace in freefall in 19th place and Boro just three points better off after a winless start to 2017.

Karanka's side have an enviable record against other teams in the bottom six, taking 11 of 18 available points and losing just once, at home to Palace in September.

Winger Wilfried Zaha and centre forward Christian Benteke were on target for the Eagles that day and remain two of the most obvious threats in a team that builds around its wide men and their service for Benteke.

That Boro succumbed last time to dangers they were prepared for rankles with Karanka, who has warned his side not to let history repeat itsellf.

"We need to try and learn, especially from the game we lost at home," said the Spaniard.

"We lost that game to some things we knew about before the game. We know their style, we know the things we have to do.

"So I am positive but we can't forget that they are good players.

"The key players are the same, they have Benteke, Zaha, (Andros) Townsend, key men. The style can change a little bit, sometimes they play with three at the back, but if we make the same mistakes as last time it's going to be a problem.

"It is 11 v 11, we are competing well with everyone and I'm sure we'll compete with them."

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Since the turn of the year Boro have seen off Sheffield Wednesday, Accrington and Oxford to move into the last eight of the FA Cup but have not tasted victory in the league.

Karanka is not too downcast by the club's position, particularly given the relative plight of a more expensively assembled Palace side with more Premier League pedigree.

"They are a direct opponent but one month ago they spent £30million in the market," he said.

"You have players who've been playing a lot of years and a manager (Sam Allardyce) involved in the Premier League for I don't know how many years. And when you've spent as much money as they've spent this season and last season...but now they are our opponents and we are going there to win the game.

"We are in good position, we are in the FA Cup quarter-finals. If someone told us three years ago we were going to be living this moment, I don't think a lot of people would think we would be in this position now."

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