IT has probably not escaped Aitor Karanka’s attention that three of the five top-flight sides who are currently below Middlesbrough have changed their managers since Christmas.
Given events on Teesside over the past fortnight, when the Boro head coach initially rounded on sections of the club’s own supporters and then fired a broadside in the direction of the club hierarchy after failing to bring in some high-profile targets, it is maybe safe in assuming that the goodwill that Karanka enjoys is perhaps not as plentiful as it once was.
Karanka, for his part, has previous experience in being under-siege somewhat, with last season’s much-publicised episode when he missed the early-Spring game at Charlton after a training-ground bust-up with some senior players being the most prominent example.
It might be just as well that he has and while the Spaniard dug in and helped orchestrate Boro’s ‘us-against-the-world’ successful promotion quest last term, you sense that if he can do the same and co-ordinate the club’s Premier League safety almost 12 months on, that it will rank as just as big an achievement. If not higher.
Karanka insists that frustrations, open or otherwise, are a part of managerial life, and is making no apologies for his heart-on-sleeve comments either, even if shrewd observers believe it to be a very dangerous game.
Neither is he worrying about his position.
The Spainard, afforded few favours by this evening’s fixture against a Spurs side unbeaten at home in the league all season, said: “I am a man who if I want to be sacked, I don’t need to wait and be sacked – I’ll say goodbye and go.
“I don’t need the money, I’m here because I want to be here – and the day I’m not pleased in one place, I’ll leave.
“I didn’t criticise the board or the club, it was just me showing my frustration.
“I can’t come here and say I am really pleased when I had three targets and lost three targets. And I cannot come to a press conference after a game when we have lost (and be happy), because that is not the kind of person I am.
“If I have frustrations, I cannot hide them. Look how much I criticised the crowd (against West Ham) – on Tuesday 27,000 people were singing my name.”