Ai­tor’s back but can of worms is now open...


The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

ISTILL can’t be­lieve Ai­tor Karanka tem­po­rar­ily walked out on Mid­dles­brough. For a boss to do some­thing so dras­tic at this stage in the sea­son is un­heard of. So what if the play­ers had a pop? By the time you get to March, all per­sonal griev­ances or dif­fer­ences come sec­ond to the task in hand.

It doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re fight­ing rel­e­ga­tion, go­ing for the ti­tle or try­ing to reach the play-offs. There’s no­body big­ger than the club and no ex­cuse for be­ing un­pro­fes­sional.

As a man­ager, you have to show ex­cep­tional lead­er­ship. What­ever is go­ing on be­hind the scenes – and we’ve seen it at Bolton with Neil Len­non this sea­son – you have to be man enough to deal with it, walk out in front of your troops and present a strong front.


I’ve been in plenty of dress­ing rooms where the man­ager came un­der fire or had an ar­gu­ment with play­ers.What you have to do is stick your chest out, give some back and prove that you’re in charge.

By storm­ing out, I think Karanka showed a real lack of lead­er­ship at a crit­i­cal time in Mid­dles­brough’s sea­son.

OK, so he came back. But how much dam­age has been done? While Karanka was away, Boro were beaten 2-0 by strug­gling Charl­ton.

I watched that game and it didn’t even look like they’d make the play-offs, let alone com­pete for the ti­tle. Those three points could prove se­ri­ously costly in May.

He’s also opened a can of worms. Ev­ery time some­thing goes wrong, ev­ery time re­sults aren’t right, ques­tions will be asked about dress­ing room har­mony.

If they do go up, you can bet that op­po­si­tion man­agers will be think­ing ‘We can get inside this guy’s head’ and start with the mind games.

And how can Karanka pos­si­bly ques­tion a player’s at­ti­tude or com­mit­ment? If he did that to me as a player I’d come straight back and say ‘Well, what about yours?’

It’s a mas­sive chink in his ar­mour in a pro­fes­sion where you need to be ab­so­lutely bul­let­proof, es­pe­cially at the highest level.

On the plus side, his first game back was mas­sive – a 1-0 win over pro­mo­tion ri­vals Hull with a David Nu­gent goal in stop­page time.

Ev­ery­body was wait­ing to see how Boro would re­act and that per­for­mance showed all the right signs. Hope­fully lessons have been learned, ev­ery­body has re­alised that to­geth­er­ness is key and they can go on to cap a mar­vel­lous sea­son with pro­mo­tion.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

SH-OUT OF OR­DER: Ai­tor Karanka

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