MIDDLESBROUGH boss Aitor Karanka has bemoaned his club’s ‘rich’ tag, writes Chris Bell.
Boro’s summer dealings, in particular that of Stewart Downing and Christian Stuani, led many pundits and managers to categorise the Teessiders as the Championship’s big-spenders.
Everyone wants to beat the richest team.
It was a desctiption that Karanka was quick to try to dispel, but the Spaniard has failed in doing so.
As such, the defensive set-up teams deploy against Boro is a direct result of their summer business.
“The problem started in pre-season when everybody said that Middlesbrough had spent a lot of money on signing players and it wasn’t true,” Karanka said.
“In the league there are many teams who have spent a lot money this summer. This was the first mistake.
“Middlesbrough have spent a lot of money in the same way as many teams.
“For this reason everyone wants to beat us. Everyone wants to beat the richest team.”
Boro’s seven-game winning run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat to Reading a fortnight ago, which was followed by 0-0 draw against a defensively-minded Fulham on Saturday at the Riverside.
Karanka is hoping that Cardiff City don’t operate a similar system tonight in the Welsh capital.
“I hope they play in a good style because they are a good team and they are at home,” the head coach added to www.mfc.co.uk.
“They don’t need to stop the game to beat us.
“They have a good squad and are four points below us and they don’t need to play like that.”
When teams inevitable do play to contain Boro, Karanka’s players are well-versed in how to counter the tactics.
“We play better, with more intensity, more intelligently and we show everyone how to win the game,” Karanka continued.
“We have to improve the tempo of the game.
“We always have pressure because we always want to win games.”