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Karanka: "Mourinho is brutally honest in everything he does"

Karanka is revelling in his first season in the English top flight with Middlesbrough, and is already looking forward to crossing swords with Mourinho at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.

Karanka: "Mourinho is brutally honest in everything he does"
SCOTT HEPPELL AFP

Aitor Karanka is revelling in his first season in the English top flight with Middlesbrough, and is already looking forward to crossing swords with José Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.

Speaking to El País, the Middlesbrough manager was inevitably asked about Mourinho as well as the three years he spent as the Portuguese coach's right-hand man. But his first coach was his own father, who coached local sides San Ignacio, Zalla, Aurrerá de Vitoria and even Deportivo Alavés. "My first coach I had at home, my father. Me and my brother Ibai would go along with him to work quite often. He coached a few players who went on to the play in the First Division like Txingu (Ernesto Valverde); now, when we talk it's on the same level - from one coach to another".

Karanka's Boro got the new campaign off with a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke on Saturday with new signing Ávaro Negredo getting off the mark on his official debut. The coach knows a long season lies ahead, and Boro will need to give the best they've got just to stay in the category: "We coaches don't have dreams, footballers do - to be promoted up a division, to qualify for the Champions League, to win it... For us it's different, we focus on the day to day - everything is more short-term, more immediate", Karanka explained. "The objective is to transmit honesty and confidence to the players. That's what I've done with [Brad] Guzan, the most recent keeper we signed - in 10 minutes, I told him what he can expect from the club, what we want from him and we have been completely open and honest with him, and with the others".

Morals which Karanka says is a quality he admires in the man he used to be an assistant to - José Mourinho. "After three years with him, I learned from him that it is possible to tell players the way things are directly to their face", he explained. "I've worked alongside other coaches and noth everything is about Mou, although for me, he has been probably the most important. You learn something from all of them. I've been lucky enough to have been coached by Heynckes, Del Bosque, Valverde... Mou is brutally honest, with the players, in everything. When we first started working together, he explained the dynamic of the work we would be doing, how his relationship with me and the other members of the coaching staff would work and after three years, it was exactly like he said. That's what I call honesty. I didn't just turn up to take the press conferences willy nilly - he told me on my first day that I would be taking press confernce and training sessions. A lot of other coaches speak wonders of him but what sells newspapers is sensationalism. It'll be great to confront him at Old Trafford and go for a beer afterwards".

Until then, Karanka has enough to keep him busy - including this weekend's Tees-Wear derby clash with David Moyes' Sunderland. "Coming to Boro was the best decision I have made in my life - and that includes the ones I made as a player, when nobody knew me. And reaching the Premier League from the incredibly tough Championship was an amazing journey, and an amazing personal experience".