Garry Monk says expect the unexpected when Middlesbrough go head-to-head with another one of this summer’s Championship big-hitters Wolves.
Boro travel to Molineux to take on Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in a clash that sees two of the second tier’s highest spenders clash on the opening afternoon of the campaign.
And Monk, speaking at his first competitive pre-match press conference since taking the Riverside reins, thinks it could turn out to be an unpredictable outing.
“For me this game is very unpredictable. They have recruited high-calibre players and are dangerous for sure,” he said.
“But we have to focus on ourselves, and we want a good start. Winning games improves confidence – it’s not rocket science.
“Our season won’t be defined by this game but we want to focus on getting the maximum we can from it.”
The challenges of the Championship are not alien to Monk, given that he took Leeds close to the play-offs last season.
But he knows you get nothing for free at this level, especially with teams up and down the country putting their money where their mouth is this summer.
“It’s the most difficult league in the world,” said the Boro boss.
“There’s a minimum of twelve teams who can realistically achieve promotion.
“Every game is hard-fought so everyone else can get carried away but we have to be focused and give everything in every game.
“I don’t think anyone will ever run away with this league. We know how hard it’s going to be and we have to stick together through the good moments and the difficult moments as well, which will come.”
Meanwhile, Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez is expected to seal a move to Sampdoria, after the midfielder flew out to Italy for talks.
Ramirez was pictured exiting the UK yesterday, bound for Italy, and images have since emerged of his arrival on the continent.
Monk confirmed another club had been given permission to speak to the 26-year-old.
On transfers, he said: “Gaston has permission to speak to another club and that’s all we want to say.
“I think the club deserves a lot of credit. We’ve spent money but we’ve bought quality and value - players with a future who add to the strong core we have.
“We don’t have to sell. It would take an extraordinary offer if we don’t want a player to leave. We’ve done the bulk of the work. There’s some to be done.”