Middlesbrough sack Karanka
Middlesbrough have announced the sacking of manager Aitor Karanka just three days before their clash with Manchester United.
The Spaniard, who took over at the Riverside Stadium back in 2013, enjoyed a successful if not smooth four years on Teesside and it seems a recent training ground bust-up with Boro favourite Stewart Downing was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
In the Premier League, Boro are without a win in their last ten matches, winning just once in thirteen since December 11. Scoring goals has been a real issue for them this season, drawing a blank in nine of their last thirteen games and are the lowest-scoring team in the top flight with just nineteen goals from twenty-seven matches.
The writing was on the wall when Karanka criticised the club’s supporters for a lack of patience, describing the atmosphere as "awful" and accusing the fans of making his side play "long ball" football.
A Middlesbrough club statement read: "Middlesbrough Football Club can today confirm the departure of Head Coach Aitor Karanka. Following discussions, both parties have agreed that it is in the best interests of the club to make this change.
"The club would like to thank Aitor for all his hard work over the past three-and-a-half years and for the success we've had during that time. We wish him all the best for the future."
With just four league wins all season, they have dropped to 19th in the table and the relegation cloud is looming heavily over the club. With just ten games remaining to retain their Premier League status, chairman Steve Gibson has finally intervened.
Karanka was gratified to the club for giving him his first opportunity in his official statement on the Middlesbrough website.
"I'd like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with," said the 43-year-old.
"I'd also like to thank the fans for their support. This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough Football Club the very best for the future."
Assistant coach Steve Agnew has been placed in temporary charge and will oversee this weekend’s clash with Manchester United. The early frontrunners for the job currently include Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren, both of whom have an affinity with the club.