Having seen Middlesbrough shoot to the top of the Championship table on Friday, Aitor Karanka has told his players they deserve a shot at the top-flight.
Boro finished in 12th place in the second-tier last term, but they have improved greatly in the time Karanka has been at the helm. The Spaniard succeeded Tony Mowbray in the November of last season when the Riverside Stadium club were facing a potential flirtation with relegation, but he secured their safety with some comfort and they ended up 20 points above the drop.
This term they have progressed even further, and their 1-0 win at promotion rivals Norwich City on Friday was their third success in six days having beaten Rotherham United on Saturday and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday. More importantly this win places them at the top of the table, and Karanka believes his players deserve a place in the Premier League.
“This last week for us has been amazing,” said the former Real Madrid assistant. “We have won three games in six days especially today versus Norwich when everyone thought they would beat us. I’m proud of my players. Once again they showed they can beat everyone. I told them after the game if there is a team who deserve to be in Premier League it’s them.”
Although Boro top the standings, such is the fierce competitiveness of the Championship this season they could be in third place by the time their rivals have played this afternoon. Bournemouth will return to the summit if they beat Sheffield Wednesday and Watford will go second if they beat Birmingham City; after which their remains just two matches of this scintillating season.