Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Middlesbrough sack Aitor Karanka in desperate bid for Premier League survival

Middlesbrough sack Aitor Karanka in desperate bid for Premier League survival

Middlesbrough have sacked manager Aitor Karanka, handing the Spaniard's assistant Steve Agnew the pressing task of trying to keep the relegation-threatened club in the English Premier League.

In a statement on their official website, Middlesbrough revealed that both they and Karanka agreed it was in the "best interests" of the club to part company.

Karanka helped the side gain promotion from the Championship after a seven-year absence from the topflight, but the club recently dropped into the bottom three for the first time this season.

Karanka himself posted to thank Boro for the opportunity and wish the club all the best for the future.

Tensions had risen once again between Karanka and the club since December, when league results went irretrievably south.

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Boro were beaten that day but Agnew's reputation did not suffer in the eyes of Gibson, who rates him highly as a coach and knows the 51-year-old is popular with players.

Boro fans then posted their reactions to this news, with some feeling gutted and thanking their now former boss for the memories.

He had remained confident of easing Boro back to safety in the remaining 11 games of the season and was encouraged by his team's display in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Manchester City.

One of Agnew's first acts as caretaker-manager will be to restore Stewart Downing to the squad for Sunday's match at home to Manchester United.

There are several experienced managers now available with former Boro boss Steve McClaren, another ex-England manager Roy Hodgson and Alan Pardew among them, but Boro seem likely to stick with the head coach model under which Karanka worked and that could prove an obstacle for some.

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