Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson says tired Aitor Karanka 'sacrificed himself'
By Sky Sports
Last Updated: 17/03/17 10:55am
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson claims Aitor Karanka "sacrificed himself" and believe the "tired" Spaniard will be "relieved" to have lost his job.
Karanka left his head coach role on Teesside on Thursday with his side second-bottom of the Premier League with 10 games to go, with a club statement insisting the decision was mutual.
Gibson told the Times newspaper: "I've had a lot of discussions with Aitor since the weekend. We agreed that a different approach is required.
"Aitor is tired, he has worked so hard for our football club over the last three and half years and the tension surrounding the end of last season would have taken its toll on anyone. Then we had a very busy summer.
"He was working his socks off trying to bring players in and he hasn't really had a break since the minute he walked through the door. What we concluded - he and I - was that he perhaps wasn't the guy at this point in time to deliver that change.
"I know people are cynical when you say that a decision was mutual, but he wasn't sacked. He sacrificed himself. He's in a good frame of mind. I think he's relieved. He has been enormous for our club. He has progressed us and he will have learned an enormous amount from this experience."
It is understood that Gibson decided to act after a training ground bust up with Stewart Downing last week, after the winger was left out of the squad for their defeat to Man City. Karanka said afterwards: "I want 18 fighters" (in my squad).
The Spaniard had also criticised the Middlesbrough board, fans and individual players at different times this season, and was left irate after they failed to sign Robert Snodgrass, Jese Rodriguez or Bojan Krkic in January.
It is understood the original intention was to give Karanka the Manchester United game on Sunday to try and get points on the board but chairman Gibson decided to take action more swiftly.
The decision was made on Wednesday and, after taking training, Karanka's fate was sealed in an amicable meeting with the club's hierarchy.
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