Middlesbrough boss defends strikers

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

AITOR Karanka was defiant: “I have the three best strikers in the league,” he protested.

Amidst telling of his frustration that Middlesbrough did not beat Reading, the Spaniard responded to a question in his press conference asking if he will sign another striker to make games like Saturday’s unlikely to happen again.

He needn’t have spoken for his facial expression was his answer, screwing up his face and boldly claiming in defence of his attacking options.

“Again, we have the best strikers in the league,” he said.

“I don’t need any more strikers.

“Strikers are unlucky.

“Sometimes they score five or six games in a row and then sometimes they go five or six games without scoring.”

With Patrick Bamford, Jelle Vossen, Kike and Lee Tomlin his attacking options, Karanka believes that the quartet possess enough quality and versatility between them to find ways beyond even the meanest of defences.

Reading had the shot-stopping ability of Adam Federici to their advantage to deny Boro at the Madjeski Stadium but goal-barren games, Karanka attests, will not plague the rest of Boro’s season.

“I can’t say that we played bad, we played well and created lots of chances but we needed to score goals,” he admitted.

“Reading, like I said before the game, with Steve (Clarke as their new manager) have improved a lot since the past.

“We knew we were going to play against a very organised team but we had to take advantage of our chances.

“I think that I have played with different (attacking) options. At Barnsley we played with all of them.

“I don’t think it’s a problem who’s playing but more concentration problems.

“I don’t know why because last season I couldn’t say that we had a lot of quality but this season I can say that.

“We have Jelle, Kike, Patrick, Tommo, Albert (Adomah) – we have a lot of players who can score goals.”

The goalless draw leaves Boro four points adrift of Championship leaders Bournemouth with a win at home to Huddersfield on Saturday looking increasingly a must.

“We have to improve but I want to be optimistic, we are now one point better than we were last week,” Karanka (below) added.