Aitor’s back but can of worms is now open...
BORO BOSS SHOWS CHINK
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.
SH-OUT OF ORDER: Aitor Karanka