Abysmal Attacking Play Ends With Middlesbrough Sacking Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Middlesbrough have struggled throughout the Premier League season to score goals, ultimately contributing to the sacking of manager Aitor Karanka on Thursday. Assistant coach Steve Agnew will lead the squad into an important match against Manchester United on Sunday, as Boro fight to escape the relegation places and a quick return to the Championship.

Abysmal Attack Ends With Middlesbrough Sacking Aitor Karanka

Currently 19th in the league table, Middlesbrough were eliminated from the FA Cup this past Saturday against Manchester City at the Riverside Stadium. Frustrations with the approach from the team could be felt by home supporters, and the pressure building upon Karanka was becoming too much for success to flourish in many ways.

The Spanish tactician utilised a conservative tactical formation, often keeping the match within reach, but did not see enough in the final third to earn victories on a consistent basis. Boro have won only four of their 27 Premier League fixtures and sit three points away from safety.

With only 11 matches remaining to hold their place in the English first division, the club felt that a change was necessary in order to achieve their top objective.

Caretaker manager Steve Agnew has been with Middlesbrough for several seasons, and will look to see a spark from the top of line-up as the campaign progresses.

Defensive approach

Karanka’s years as an assistant under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid were formative in many ways for the manager, as a results-based philosophy was influential working closely with the Special One. His tactics helped achieve automatic promotion to the Premier League last season, but were not producing successfully at the next level.

Middlesbrough have scored only 19 Premier League goals in the current term.

Choosing to use one striker or rotating the attacking line-up kept many players from continuing spells of good form.

Adama Traore

Barcelona academy product Adama Traore is one of Boro’s exciting talents, possessing electric pace and incredible skill on the ball. Unfortunately, Karanaka was unable to get the best out of the 21-year-old throughout the season.

Traore was not always given a starting role and, when he was on the pitch, saw his position moved constantly. Whether as a striker or switching his side as a winger, the young talent was not able to evolve and progress.

With no league goals to his name in 2016-17, more should have been seen from Adama Traore while Karanka led Middlesbrough.

A volatile temper

Karanka’s demeanor had caused issues at the club before, and it appears similar problems may have brought about this week’s decision to part ways at Middlesbrough.

Reports of a training-ground altercation with midfielder Stewart Downing added to tensions, as Karanka may also have been frustrated by a lack of activity during the January transfer window for his line-up.

He was losing his players, and the choice to replace Aitor Karanka in this type of scenario makes sense when the team are battling to avoid relegation. A new era and the search for a new boss begin now for Middlesbrough, along with 11 vital matches for their survival during the coming weeks.

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