Why Middlesbrough were right to dismiss Karanka

Two goals in nine for Boro

Aitor Karanka played his part in Middlesbrough’s transformation from a club that was stagnating in the Championship into one competing for a place in the Premier League. Since promotion to the top flight was won however, he has made mistakes, for which he has paid today with his job.

Prior to promotion, the only possible criticism of Boro was whether they were two defensive. Sometimes the double-pivot of Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton led to a lack of movement in central areas, making it harder for them to break teams down after falling behind.

Naturally, Karanka was not going to employ more attacking tactics when faced with better quality players in a higher division. However, he was wrong to use even more defensive tactics than the 4-2-3-1 and change to a 4-3-3.

The front three is normally a speedy but raw Adama Traore on the right, a tidy but battle shy Alvaro Negredo up top and to his left Gaston Ramirez, who always cuts inside. These might not be bad players, but they look it when they are asked to carry attacks single-handedly.

Marten De Roon presses intelligently but does not offer much in possession. Adam Clayton is solid enough but lacking mobility, while namesake Forshaw has waned in influence after a positive start. With three relatively cautious midfielders, width must be provided by full-backs yet this has not been forthcoming either.

The only right-backs used this term have been Calum Chambers and Antonio Barragan, both centre-backs by trade. Left-back Fabio Da Silva is right-footed while the other option, George Friend, manages just 0.2 crosses per game according to WhoScored.

This blog is often supportive of managers but in this case, Karanka has been given ample backing in the summer and has misused his squad. He has built an imbalanced team that is focused solely on positioning with the ball, whilst neglecting the need for width, variation and creativity. While the club should be grateful for his efforts to attain Premier League football, he had to go for Boro to sustain it.




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