Middlesbrough Sack Manager Aitor Karanka

Reuters / Hannah McKayser

Aitor Karanka has been sacked as Middlesbrough head coach.

The relegation fighting Premier League side who are without a league win in 2017, confirmed his departure only 72 hours before they face Manchester United on Sunday.

Initially, it was believed that Karanka will be handed the United match to try and bring points but chairman Steve Gibson took the final call more swiftly. The decision was made on Wednesday and after the training session, Karanka’s fate was decided in an emergency meeting with the club’s hierarchy.

Karanka’s job was at stake after a feud with Stewart Downing last week and it proved to be the last in a row of such incidents during his almost four-year spell at the Riverside.

Karanka, who guided Boro to promotion from the Championship last term, had also publicly criticised the club board and supporters over the past few months.

In January, the 43-year-old vent his frustration regarding a lack of new signings in the winter transfer window, and he also blamed the Boro fans for making his side play long-ball football during a home defeat to West Ham.

Boro have only managed four wins all season, the most recent being a 3-0 win over Swansea in December. They have also defeated Hull, Bournemouth and Sunderland and lost 13 of their 22 games.

REUTERS/Juan Medina

In a statement released by the club, Karanka said: “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. 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.”

Karanka previously worked as Jose Mourinho’s assistant manager during the Portuguese coach’s three year spell at Real Madrid.


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