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Karanka back at Middlesbrough

Aitor Karanka resumed his role as Middlesbrough manager on Monday after the Spaniard had appeared on the verge of quitting the Championship club.

Karanka back at Middlesbrough
Pete Norton Getty Images

Aitor Karanka resumed his role as Middlesbrough manager on Monday after the Spaniard had appeared on the verge of quitting the Championship club.

Karanka's future was shrouded in doubt over the weekend after he stormed away from showdown talks with his under-performing squad on Friday. The 42-year-old questioned the players' desire to win promotion to the Premier League following their midweek loss at lowly Rotherham and was said to have told them he no longer wanted to manage them during the heated training ground meeting.

Karanka was absent from the bench when Middlesbrough lost 2-0 at Charlton on Sunday, with his assistant coach Steve Agnew taking charge instead. But, amid speculation he would resign or be sacked, a statement on the club's website on Monday announced Karanka had returned to work.

“Middlesbrough Football Club can confirm that head coach Aitor Karanka will be resuming first-team duties with the club with immediate effect. We have 10 games left this season and as a club we are fully focussed on what remains of our Championship campaign”, the statement read.

After losing to Norwich in last year's play-off final, Karanka, who worked as José Mourinho's assistant at Real Madrid before taking his first managerial role with Middlesbrough in 2013, was under pressure to get the north-east based outfit into the top-flight this term. Middlesbrough are currently in the second automatic promotion place in the Championship and sit two points ahead of third placed Hull, who have a game in hand, and fourth placed Brighton.