Karanka back in charge at Middlesbrough

Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka

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Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka is back in charge at the Riverside.

There had been much speculation that the Spaniard would leave the club after a failed attempt to smooth over a bust-up ahead of Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Charlton, which he missed.

But, in a statement on the club website, Boro said: “Middlesbrough Football Club can confirm that head coach Aitor Karanka will be resuming first-team duties with the club with immediate effect.

“We have 10 games left this season and as a club we are fully focussed on what remains of our Championship campaign.”

Karanka reportedly left the training ground unexpectedly on Friday following a meeting.

Boro remain in second in the table despite the Charlton defeat, which meant they had won just three of their last 11 games and taken 12 points from a possible 30.

There is also an ongoing debate over Karanka’s use of £9million January signing Jordan Rhodes, who had started just four times in eight appearances and scored a single goal since his arrival from Blackburn ahead of the Charlton game which he started.

Karanka did not take Middlesbrough training on Saturday, with Steve Agnew in charge for the trip to The Valley as well.

The Spaniard had tried to smooth things over on Saturday just a day after reportedly walking out following a stormy meeting with his players.

Sources close to Karanka, who has previously found himself at odds with former assistant Craig Hignett and midfielder Albert Adomah during his 28-month reign, claim he arrived ready to apologise for his part in the disagreement.

Things did not work out that way and the club released a statement revealing that Agnew would be in charge of the team at Charlton.

Agnew refused to use Karanka’s absence as an excuse for the 2-0 defeat.

He said: “The preparation before the game was fine, that is no excuse for the performance.

“We’ve got to move forward, we’ve lost the game 2-0 and didn’t perform well. We’ve just got to work towards the run-in.

“I was disappointed with both the performance and the result, we conceded two poor goals, that’s not like us.”

But just a day later Karanka has returned to his duties and will take charge in the home game with Hull on Friday, when another defeat would see Boro surrender second place in the table to the Tigers.