HEAD COACH Aitor Karanka believes that his Middlesbrough side are being placed under increased pressure because of a misleading notion among Championship rivals that they are trying to buy their way to promotion.
Karanka takes his side to Cardiff today following Saturday’s frustrating home draw with Fulham, which followed a 2-0 reverse at Reading before the international break.
The Basque feels talk that Boro have flexed their financial muscle more than any other Championship rival is unfair, although he has acknowledged that it is an extra motivation for many rivals and another factor that they need to combat.
He said: “It wasn’t true. Middlesbrough have spent money in the same way a lot of teams have spent money. For that reason, a lot of teams want to beat us.
“It’s the same in Spain where everybody wants to beat the richest team or Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“Now, because of that wrong comment, Middlesbrough are in focus.
“We have to be focused on the games, to know how good (are) the squad and the players we have. It’s a good motivation for us.”
Karanka added about Saturday’s draw with Fulham: “There’s always pressure because we always want to win the games.
“We have to know we are third in the league, but if we keep playing like we did in the last two games we will go fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th.”
Meanwhile, Karanka has expressed sympathy for his sacked Leeds United counterpart Uwe Rosler and has revealed his gratitude for working under Steve Gibson, who stayed behind him during a slow start to his tenure.
Karanka said: “When I arrived here, we lost three in my first five games, and the first person who said to me ‘don’t worry’ was the chairman.
“For that reason we are now in the position we are, not because we have spent a lot of money.
“I am really sorry for Uwe as I had a very good relationship with him.
“I think he’s a very good coach and I wish him all the best because we had a long chat when we played Leeds three weeks ago.”
Last six games: Cardiff WLLWDD; Middlesbrough WWWWLD.
Referee: D Whitestone (Northants).
Last time: Cardiff 0 Middlesbrough 1; September 16, 2014; Championship.