Karanka walked away to save Middlesbrough says owner

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Karanka walked away to save Middlesbrough says owner

MIDDLESBROUGH chairman has no plans to approach Nigel Pearson or Steve McClaren to replace Aitor Karanka.

It forced his opposite number Steve Agnew - who was taking charge of Boro for the first time - to seek Mourinho out for the traditional post-match handshake.

It was Karanka's time working alongside Mourinho at Real Madrid that made him an attractive candidate for the Middlesbrough job three-and-a-half years ago, so being denied the opportunity to come up against his old friend for one final time in the role may add insult to injury for the Spaniard.

"He has years of experience, I trust him, he's a man of integrity and the players at this football club respect, trust and like him".

They fell 2-0 behind on Sunday to goals from Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard, before substitute Rudy Gestede pulled one back with Boro's first league goal for 509 minutes. "I couldn't be more proud of the players, the fighting spirit they showed, and the crowd was top-class". "I don't think it's amusing that some of our players have played 11 matches in six weeks".

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Boro owner Steve Gibson wants Agnew to take the reins until the end of the season and if he can manage a positive result against Manchester United tomorrow then he may well find himself in pole position for the permanent job.

Gibson told the Times newspaper: "I've had a lot of discussions with Aitor since the weekend. He has progressed us and he will have learned an enormous amount from this experience". Keeping us up would be the single biggest achievement of my life. He's a very good coach and a very good number two.

I have to be honest, it was a really hard day yesterday, a very emotional day, but then today the players have trained well and we look forward to the weekend.

Speaking before the game, Gibson had hinted Agnew could be Karanka's long-term successor as manager. "He deserves a good future in the game".

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