Aitor Karanka admits rumours of dressing room unrest at Middlesbrough 'difficult to hear'
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 17/03/16 9:33am
Aitor Karanka has told Sky Sports he "never" wanted to leave Middlesbrough and said it was upsetting to hear reports claiming he told his players he didn't want to manage them anymore.
The 42-year-old looked set to be leaving the Riverside Stadium at the weekend when it emerged he had left the club's Rockliffe Park training headquarters suddenly and unexpectedly after a team meeting.
Karanka was not in the dug-out for Sunday's 2-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat at Charlton, but the club announced on Monday evening that he would resume his role as head coach with immediate effect.
Asked by Sky Sports' Jonathan Oakes if he had told the players he did not want to manage them anymore as per the rumours, Karanka said: "They knew my position, and this is maybe one of the things that hurts me a lot.
"When I heard that there were problems with the changing room, when I have been here for two-and-a-half years and they have given me everything.
"When I came here we were fighting in the relegation positions, and now we are near the top of the table.
"That change is because we have an amazing relationship. So it was more difficult for me to hear, because we were fighting together, and it was difficult for me especially when it is not true."
Karanka held a meeting with his players and staff on Tuesday to thrash out the way forward after chairman Steve Gibson had moved to find a solution and refocus attention on the club's bid for a return to the Premier League after a seven-year absence.
The Spaniard told Sky Sports that himself and Gibson "didn't need to agree something because there was never a disagreement", but admits the past week caused concern within his family.
"I can't deny every single rumour," Karanka said. "Sometimes I wanted to cry, sometimes I wanted to laugh.
"The worst thing was that my family in Spain were hearing a lot of things and sometimes they called me and were concerned because they read things, heard that something wasn't good for me.
"There were moments in these two days where my family called me. Those were the worst moments for me because if I would have liked to leave today or after the game on Sunday I had more chances to leave, because the team lost the game, so I never wanted to leave.
"I have an amazing squad, I have always said that."
Middlesbrough sit third in the Championship, a point behind the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand, and face Hull on Friday evening at the Riverside, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Watch the extended interview with Karanka before the match on Friday from 7pm.