Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough: Boro players must prove their hunger, says Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
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AITOR KARANKA has demanded that his Middlesbrough players show the same desire he possesses in the quest for the top flight.

The Spaniard was critical of his side’s lack of hunger in their midweek defeat at relegation strugglers Rotherham United.

It was his promotion-chasing side’s latest setback against sides at the wrong end of the Championship following a loss to Bristol City and a fortuitous draw at MK Dons.

The run is starting to seriously bedevil the Teessiders’ prospect of automatic promotion, with coach Karanka’s side facing another character test at Charlton tomorrow afternoon.

Questioned on how he can increase the intensity in his side, Karanka said: “I don’t know how to change the desire.

“I know my desire, I know the desire that other teams have, for that reason it is about (doing it) yourself. I show them the desire every single day to play in the Premier League next season. Last season, I showed them my desire. It is up to the person.

“I hope they want it as much as me. If they don’t want to get promotion, if they don’t want to have that desire, then they should let me know and I will pick other players.”

Meanwhile, Karanka says that he could fully understand the disgruntlement from the sell-out section of 2,600 supporters at the New York Stadium.

They voiced their displeasure at the final whistle towards the Boro players following the poor second-half performance, which culminated in Neil Warnock’s Rotherham scoring a late winning goal.

Reflecting on the fans’ reaction, Karanka added: “If I had been one of them, then I think I would be the same. It wasn’t easy for me to understand what happened in the second half, for that reason I can understand the fans.”