Middlesbrough sack Aitor Karanka as Premier League relegation battle intensifies

Boro have slipped to second-bottom in the top-flight table having not won in the top-flight since December 17, 2016 - a 3-0 home win over relegation rivals Swansea City.

In a statement on their official website, Middlesbrough revealed that both they and Karanka agreed it was in the "best interests" of the club to part company. "This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough football club the very best for the future".

"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", said Karanka, who was due to face Mourinho's Manchester United on Sunday.

Middlesbrough have sacked manager Aitor Karanka after three and a half years at the club.

Boro have placed assistant boss Steve Agnew in charge of the first team while they search for a new manager.

Boro owner Steve Gibson has run out of patience with Karanka following a woeful run of results in 2017.

Karanka arrived on Teesside in November 2013 with the club languishing in the lower reaches of the Sky Bet Championship table, and swiftly turned things around.

During his time at Boro, he guided them to the Premier League by finishing second in the Championship last season. Stewart Downing and Patrick Bamford were left out of the squad for last weekend's FA Cup defeat by Manchester City, with the manager saying he needed "18 fighters".

A number of comments made in the media by Karanka, including criticism of the fans and club chiefs for not backing him in the transfer market, have also irked him.

  • Julie Sanders