Middlesbrough v Charlton: Squad spirit delights Boro boss Karanka

Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka

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PERSONAL and team recognition might be coming Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough’s way, but the Spaniard is keen to pay tribute to the supporting cast.

Boro enjoyed a sublime January, which saw them go unbeaten and win five games out of six in all competitions, while taking the prized scalp of Premier League champions Manchester City in the FA Cup.

It culminated in Karanka and Lee Tomlin securing a noteworthy double for the Teessiders, with the pair winning the Championship manager and player of the month awards respectively for January.

While the stock of Karanka has risen substantially, the likes of Tomlin, Patrick Bamford and Grant Leadbitter are also receiving considerable recognition, and the Boro head coach is eager to share the plaudits around.

Much has been in praise of Boro’s togetherness and team spirit, which many seasoned fans feel is the best since the days of former manager Bruce Rioch in the late Eighties.

Karanka, in the best traditions of Rioch, has paid tribute to the exemplary attitude of his players, while hailing a number of unsung heroes.

But he is also just as eager to retain his focus.

Karanka, whose side welcome Charlton Athletic to Riverside Stadium today, said: “The attitude has been perfect from all the players.

“Not just the players that have played recently, but also the ones who have not, and that’s the most important thing.

“Players like Dean Whitehead, Jonathan Woodgate, Manu Ledesma, James Husband and Yanic Wildschut.

“Those players are not playing right now, but are still working hard, and that’s the main thing because we have a lot of games and I’m going to need all of them”.

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