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Karanka urged to "smoke the peace pipe" with Boro fans

Rob Nichols, editor of the Middlesbrough's club fanzine, wrote that fans' chants in the loss to West Ham "may have been lost in translation" after the Spanish coach criticised supporters for an "awful" atmosphere.

Aitor Karanka, Manager of Middlesbrough
Ian MacNicolGetty Images

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has been urged to "smoke the peace pipe" with fans after criticising their attitude in a stinging 3-1 home Premier League defeat by West Ham United.

The Spaniard described the atmosphere at the Riverside on Saturday as "awful" and said his players deserved more respect from supporters as Boro slid ever closer to the relegation zone.

The fans' apparent urging for a long-ball approach near the end prompted Karanka, who has emphasised a passing game, to suggest they needed to remember where the 16th-placed club had come from under his management.

Former England striker Alan Shearer, now a pundit for BBC Television, suggested it was unwise to take issue with the home crowd when near the bottom of the league.

Rob Nichols, editor of the club fanzine "Fly me to the Moon", suggested, however, that Karanka's comments had stemmed from a misunderstanding.

"The West Ham game was close-fought and defeat has seen frustrations boil over, but I think that cries from supporters for their team to 'attack, attack, attack' may have been lost in translation," he wrote in the Times newspaper.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka and West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic
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Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka and West Ham United manager Slaven BilicLee SmithREUTERS

"He needs to smoke the peace pipe"

"Rather than appealing for the ball to be lumped forward - as Karanka suggested - it is about fans wanting to see an increase in tempo and intensity, both central tenets to his own philosophy.

"People are bound to get frustrated when a game of such critical importance is ebbing away." Boro were chasing the game in the dying minutes after Andy Carroll's first-half double, either side of Cristhian Stuani's equaliser, put the Hammers in control.

After pushing forward to try to gain a point with the game in stoppage time, West Ham substitute Jonathan Calleri made the score 3-1.

Nichols agreed with Karanka that the fans would be happy if the side, promoted last year, ended the season one place above the relegation zone.

"To ensure we stay up, we'll have to bury the hatchet and play to our strengths," he wrote. "It was very important that Karanka backed his players after Saturday's game because they mustn't lose any belief - but now he needs to smoke the peace pipe."


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