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Some of Aitor Karanka's most memorable quotes


Aitor Karanka left his position as Middlesbrough head coach on Thursday

Aitor Karanka left his position as Middlesbrough head coach on Thursday

Aitor Karanka left his position as Middlesbrough head coach on Thursday

Aitor Karanka learnt his trade at the feet of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and it should perhaps be no surprise that he has been willing to speak his mind and ruffle a few feathers at times.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of his more memorable comments this season before he left his position as Middlesbrough head coach on Thursday.

On his aims for the season:

"I said always in the Championship - when you asked me about being first or second or third at that moment - I said always that my aim was to be at the top or second in May. We were second last season so we are in the Premier League now and if in May we finish 17th, I will be really, really pleased."

On fans urging Boro to attack during a 3-1 home defeat to West Ham:

"The atmosphere was awful today because they (the crowd) demanded a lot of the players. They need to understand where we were last season, two seasons ago. I think these players deserve more respect. When I don't know how many thousand people are asking for long balls, at the end, you have to play long balls and it's a style that we don't know how to play."

His response when invited to clarify those comments:

"I have been just three years a coach, but I won't ever regret something I have said to defend the players. The most important thing is that the people who are going to the stadium and who weren't last season and two seasons before, they have to know that we had a plan to get promotion; we got promotion and we have to play always in the same style. We have a style and that style has been successful for us."

On Gaston Ramirez's January transfer request:

"It's more than difficult, it's frustrating because he was calling us to play here last season. He played his best last season, he went back to the national team again playing with us and to have this situation is frustrating as a coach and as a person."

On the club's winter transfer window dealings:

"We need to improve the team, and the club knew a month-and-a-half ago the players that I wanted. Teams in our position are signing players for £14million - we are signing players that didn't play in the Championship."

On Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola ahead of the FA Cup quarter-finals:

"Pep is not the best coach in the world. The best coach in the world is Jose Mourinho. I think Pep has to win the Premier League to prove (he is one of the best), I think he has to win a trophy (this season)."

On the omission of Stewart Downing and Patrick Bamford from the squad for the City game:

"Look, always I have needed it but now in the difficult moments, I need 18 fighters in my team. Where the players show me that they are ready to play and they are fighting and they are going to fight for the club is on the training ground every day. I am with them every day and on Friday, I will always choose at least 18 fighters."

PA Media