Premier League strugglers Middlesbrough have sacked their manager Aitor Karanka, after the club fell into the relegation zone with no win in their past ten league games.
The former Real Madrid defender guided Boro back to the Premier League last season after seven years away from the top-flight, but with the club in 19th place and three points safety, Karanka has become the sixth Premier League manager to be sacked this season.
Boro’s last victory was a 3-0 win over Swansea in mid December, one of just four Premier League victories this season, and they are also the lowest ranked scorers in the league with just 19 goals in 27 games.
In a statement on the club’s website, Karanka thanked the club’s players and fans for their support during his three-and-a-half reign in charge and hopes to see them survive the drop.
“This club will always hold a special place for me,” said the 47-year-old.
“I’d like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with. I’d also like to thank the fans for their support.
“I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough Football Club the very best for the future.”
Karanka took charge at the Riverside Stadium in November 2013 after the sacking of Tony Mowbray. He guided the club to automatic promotion in 2016 and led them to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this season before being knocked out by Man City.
Assistant manager Steve Agnew will take charge of first team affairs with immediate effect as the club begin their search for a new manager to help maintain the club’s Premier League status.
Former Leicester gaffer Nigel Pearson is the early bookies favourite for the vacancy at the Riverside Stadium, while other names in the hat include former boss Steve McClaren and Claudio Ranieri.
Another one bites the dust. After no league win in ten games, you could see this one coming as Aitor Karanka becomes the latest manager to lose his job this season.
I want to see Middlesbrough to do well but with other teams in the drop zone improving their recent form such as Hull and Swansea are changing their manager’s, Boro fans will hope a fresh face can help them maintain their top-flight status for next season.
Nigel Pearson could be a decent choice for the role with the former Foxes boss the early favourite. I am not sure Ranieri would go for the role, while I don’t think fans would want McClaren back.
I won’t be surprised if Steve Agnew remains in charge for the rest of the season with just 11 games remaining and sacking your manager who close to the season’s end is a risky move.
Despite sacking their manager, I am not sure if Middlesbrough have what it takes to survive drop. I think Boro are heading back to the Championship after just one season, with Hull and Sunderland joining them there next year.