Aitor Karanka issues warning to Middlesbrough squad ahead of Burnley clash

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka knows Middlesbrough’s dream of automatic promotion to the Premier League rests firmly in their own hands.

But the Boro boss has warned his in-form squad: “We haven’t done anything yet”.

Championship leaders Middlesbrough travel to second-placed Burnley tonight (7.45pm kick-off) in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash.

Boro visit Turf Moor on the back of six successive wins and with a two-point advantage over the Clarets with only four games remaining, a victory in east Lancashire would bring a Premier League return firmly into focus.

Calm Karanka says his focus remains firmly on the next game, adding: “Yes, because I can’t understand celebrating something you haven’t achieved.

“It’s impossible to celebrate because we haven’t done anything yet. Ipswich will be our concern on Wednesday.

“Yes, I said that one month ago [that Boro’s fate remains in their own hands]. I was calmer and more confident.

“Six games later and winning all of them and we are in the same situation. We are confident and we just have to keep going and thinking about the game.”

Boro’s promotion push was in grave danger of coming off the rails a month ago when Karanka was absent from the dugout for the defeat at Charlton after a reported falling out with his squad. But defiant Karanka said the current Championship table proves there is no issue.

“Everything that happened that week, all the rumours made me laugh.

“The best example is the table position. The best example is if I wanted to leave to win six games in a row isn’t easy. If the players had a problem with me I don’t think it’s easy to win six games in a row.”

Jordan Rhodes scored twice as Boro beat relegated Bolton Wanderers 2-1 on Saturday.

When pressed on whether he’d done enough to keep his place, Karanka added: “I said that Jordan’s goals have been good for the team and for him, (but) I can’t forget that the player who changed the game was David Nugent.

“He was only on for five minutes but he made a difference and for that reason Jordan could score.”