Aitor Karanka is refusing to think of today’s clash with undefeated Brighton as anything more than an opportunity to win three points.
Middlesbrough climbed to the top of the Championship after their victory against Burnley on Tuesday, moving level with Brighton in second place on 43 points – but overhauling them due to their superior goal difference.
Some might consider today’s clash as a decider in the scope of Middlesbrough’s promotion push, but Karanka is not looking at it in those terms.
“It’s a good motivation to try and beat the team which is with you at the top of the table and unbeaten,” said Karanka
“But I don’t want to think it’s anything more than three points.
“It’s not the last game that you need to win like a final.
“It’s three points and, yes, they’re important because they’re a promotion rival, but again it’s just three points.”
If Boro fans are looking for any good omens ahead of the clash, Karanka’s own record against Brighton away from home is impressive.
In the time that he has been in charge, Middlesbrough have won both of their games at the Amex Stadium.
However, in the Spanish coach’s view it remains a difficult tie.
“We hadn’t won against Ipswich since 93 so it’s good to know and I always have good memories when I’ve been in this stadium,” said Karanka.
“The first year we beat them 2-0 and then 2-1 last season, so I have good memories but it’s the past.
“They’re doing well, their coach is doing a terrific job so it’s going to be tough for us.”