Middlesbrough 0 Leicester City 0: Aitor Karanka coy over Rudy Gestede's impending Riverside arrival

Aitor Karanka evaded questions regarding Middlesbrough's interest in signing Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede after his side's dour goalless draw against champions Leicester.

Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson applauds the fans as he walks off the pitch after the Premier League match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. (Picture: PA)

Villa are understood to have accepted a fee in the region of £6m for the Benin forward who was left out of the squad for his side’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Cardiff on Monday. Gestede is believed to be on Teesside to tie up the deal but Karanka denied having met the player and added: “I want to finish the transfer market with a better squad than we have now and we have one month.

“I think for us it’s about keeping going. We know it’s going to be difficult to win games because we can’t forget we were in the Championship last season. When we take our chances we will win games.”

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Karanka had an issue with the failure of referee Robert Madley to award a first-half penalty after Adama Traore tumbled under the challenge of Robert Huth, with the Boro boss claiming Huth had accepted his escape was fortunate.

However, the suggestion was laughed off by Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who responded to the suggestion that Boro might have felt hard done by over the spot-kick by responding: “If that is a penalty, I am the pope.”

Karanka sought to accentuate the positives from an eminently forgettable game, insisting another point against the Foxes, coming soon after November’s 2-2 draw at the Walkers Stadium, underlined his side’s Premier League credentials.

He added: “I am really pleased with the performance because when we played away against them we were better than them, and we showed again today that we are better than them.

“We can’t forget that this season they are not in a comfortable position but they are in the Champions League and they are a really good team, so for us to play them twice and show we could have won those games is very pleasing.”

Ranieri was equally coy about his own side’s January transfer targets, even insisting of his side’s reported main target, Genk’s Wilfred Ndidi: “I haven’t seen Ndidi – I don’t know who he is.”

Gaston Ramirez lashed a late half-volley wide from eight yards to serve up a timely reminder of Middlesbrough’s need for attacking reinforcements in what was an eminently forgettable goalless draw.

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Barragan (Friend 34), Chambers, Gibson, Da Silva, de Roon, Clayton, Forshaw (Leadbitter 89), Traore (Downing 80), Negredo, Ramirez. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Rhodes, Stuani.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mendy (Albrighton 83), Amartey, King, Okazaki (Gray 74), Mahrez (Musa 71), Ulloa. Unused substitutes: Hernandez, Chilwell, Zieler, Wasilewski.

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).