Aitor Karanka has been confirmed as the new head coach of Middlesbrough, and has assured the fans he is ready for the challenge.
Following the dismissal of Tony Mowbray last month, chairman Steve Gibson has gone against his usual appointment style by venturing overseas for a replacement. Karanka has been handed a two-and-a-half-year contract at the Riverside Stadium, and despite his lack of managerial experience, he insists now is the right time for him.
“It’s a very important day for me,” the Spaniard, who was also linked with Crystal Palace, told a press conference. “It’s my first job and the best thing for me because I am joining a club that is like a family with big facilities, a big stadium and big supporters.
“It’s my time. I spent three years with Jose Mourinho and he supported me every day. I learned a lot with him and I’m ready to start. I have been speaking with him a lot and he recommended to come here because he believes in this project like me.”
Karanka, who had a notable playing career at Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, spent three years as Mourinho’s assistant at the Bernabeu. The former Spain international, who won one cap for his country, also had a spell in charge of the national Under-16 side, but now, aged 40, he feels he has the quality to make the grade in England.