Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Karanka walked away to save Middlesbrough says owner

Karanka walked away to save Middlesbrough says owner

Steve Agnew has publicly declared that he wants the Middlesbrough manager's job on a permanent basis following the sacking of Aitor Karanka.

"I've known Steve a long time", said Gibson.

Antonio Valencia's stoppage-time goal secured all the points for Jose Mourinho's side, but Agnew, in his first match in charge since Aitor Karanka departed, believes that Boro were good enough for at least a point.

The Daily Mail says Karanka clashed with club stalwart Downing this week and it proved to be the final straw as chairman Steve Gibson brought an end to his three-and-a-half-year period at the Riverside.

"It's a pleasure to be in charge of the team and see them respond". It's a club that I have a big affection for and I love the people in the area and the passion of the crowd and the North East football, ' Agnew told BT Sport.

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 know we'll take that fighting spirit for the rest of the season".

The forthcoming worldwide break will give Gibson time to assess the alternatives, but it seems likely that whoever does get the job - Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew feature in the bookmakers' early list of candidates - will have to work within the head-coach model.

"If we show that commitment and intensity until the end of the season, we have a real chance of staying up". Keeping us up would be the single biggest achievement of my life. I think he's relieved.

Speaking before the game, Gibson had hinted Agnew could be Karanka's long-term successor as manager. Then we had a very busy summer.

In the short term, though, a draw may be the best Boro will be hoping for today and, considering these two sides have drawn more games than any other teams in the division this season, it is a realistic goal for the hosts too.

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