Karanka confident of survival
AITOR Karanka is convinced his Middlesbrough team “will survive” this season.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace left Boro just one point above the Premier League drop zone in 18th.
And if Leicester City beat Liverpool at the King Power Stadium in tonight’s game, Karanka’s team will drop to 17th, just one place above the bottom three.
The Boro boss cut a frustrated figure after the Palace match at Selhurst Park, which was decided by Patrick van Aanholt’s 34th minute winner.
He was asked if his players were aware of the club’s perilous position at the wrong end of the table.
He answered: “We know but the only way to keep going is to stay together and we don’t have experience in this situation, but I’m sure we will survive.
“If I don’t believe (we will survive) it’s time to go home.”
On the game itself, Karanka was critical of his players’ firsthalf performance and approach compared to a much improved display after the break.
“I thought that everybody knew but in the first half we looked like we didn’t realise how important this game was,” he said. “I don’t want to say the attitude but the way that we approached the game has been completely different in the first half than in the second half.
“I knew that this game was really important, but we haven’t approached the game in the way that we had to approach it.
“I don’t want to say they didn’t have commitment because the only way to be successful and to survive at the end of the season is to go together.
“But if you were in the stand you could see the second half was completely different than the first one.”
“I am disappointed because I don’t know why we didn’t go to the pitch in the first half in the way that we did in the second.
“We knew that today was going to be a tough and an important game, and I’ve been showing videos why we need to stop a goal or to have a reaction, and today I thought that we were going to have that reaction from the beginning of the game and we didn’t.”
Boro were cheered on by almost 2,900 fans at Selhurst Park and Karanka urged them to keep their faith in the squad.
When asked what his message was for the supporters he said: “The same message that I always say, we can’t forget where we were three years ago and now we are outside the relegation positions and in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and to believe in this group of players because they tried to do their best.”