Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka keen to avoid play-offs

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka

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Middlesbrough Boro boss Aitor Karanka is now targeting automatic promotion to the Premier League after beating Wolves on Tuesday night.

The Teessiders currently sit third in the Championship table with 81 points but are just one point behind Norwich in second and two adrift of table-topping Bournemouth.

And it is the Canaries that they will face next at Carrow Road on Friday, April 17 in a game that could well determine which side goes up by right and who has to endure the torture of the play-offs.

Karanka recently called on the Boro faithful to raise the decibel level at the Riverside and he feels his words were heeded as the fans roared their heroes on to victory against the Midlanders.

“I want to say that our crowd have won this game,” he told BBC Tees.
“The first half was amazing and we played really, really well but in the second half they played very well and our crowd was brilliant.”

The north-east outfit could have virtually sewn up promotion already save for two recent away defeats to Bournemouth and Watford.

Following a trip to East Anglia, they will then face Fulham at Craven Cottage before Brighton travel to Middlesbrough for the final game of the campaign.

And with every contest now a must-win affair, Karanka has urged the former UEFA Cup finalists not to make the same mistakes of recent defeats to give themselves every chance of promotion.

“We have to learn from our games against Watford and Bournemouth and improve,” he added. “We know what we did badly in those games and now we have two days to prepare everything.

“The play-off position is guaranteed but we want more. The team showed that they want more so we have to keep going until the end.”

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