AITOR KARANKA believes Middlesbrough have to be intelligent when it comes to their summer recruitment plans in light of the club’s financial situation.
And, with chairman Steve Gibson continuing to bankroll the club to the tune of £1m a month, Karanka knows that, when the final game of the season is concluded, that his summer plans cannot be too grand in scale.
“I don’t want to think about things beyond the next game. I work that way here with the players,” said Karanka. “The financial matters, we need to look at at the end of the season.
“It is an important thing for the club, because the money always is important, of course.
“The most important thing here is to have good players and it does take money to achieve that.
“But when I came here I told the chairman I would like to train with young players. We need to be intelligent and bring good players here.”
Barring a remarkable end-of-season run, Boro look set to start 2014-15 in the Championship for a sixth consecutive campaign, and Karanka believes that it is not only financial reasons that make a return to the top flight more important than ever.
“It’s totally different in the Premier League,” said the Spaniard. “The most important thing is to be in the Premier League, for our supporters if not anything else.
“They deserve to have a team in the Premier League. It will be easier for them. We’re working towards that, but looking at the next game as always.”
Working with young players, as Karanka hinted at, is easy to do at Middlesbrough, with their academy delivering a rich seam of talent into the first team. One of those players, Luke Williams, is set for action tomorrow at Brighton having made a five-minute cameo in the 2-2 draw against Huddersfield Town.
Karanka was impressed with Williams’ efforts at the John Smith’s Stadium, saying: “Sometimes the players go on for five minutes thinking that ‘oh, it’s only five minutes, I can’t show the coach anything’, but Luke was on for five to seven minutes and in that time he showed me personality, he’s a young player with quality.
“We knew about that, but he’s showed me that on the pitch in a game. Hopefully he can keep working in this way because he has all the qualities to play here for a long time.
“I took a lot of positives from Tuesday night, we conceded goals but it was a good game for us. It was difficult for us to get something out of it but we got a point. They showed their character.”
With the play-offs seemingly beyond Boro, it would be fair to assume that Karanka is already planning for the new season, but is leaving nothing to chance in the final games of the season, insisting that he will go into every game with the same intensity as if promotion was at stake.
“I don’t do experiments,” said Karanka, when asked whether he would try out different tactics in the run-in. “I think experiments are for pre-season or not in the league. I prepare for every game 100%, it’s not the right place to experiment. I go to win the game, not experiment.”
Karanka, who took the Boro job in November having previously worked as Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid, is learning about the English game every day, and took in Wednesday night’s Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland, which the Reds won 2-1.
Karanka feels that he still has a lot to learn from the English game.
He said: “I’d never been to Anfield before. I wanted to see the stadium, and I wanted to enjoy it, to take in the game and to learn. When you’re at Anfield, watching teams with managers like Brendan Rodgers and Gus Poyet, you’re always learning something.
“Liverpool have good players, have a good manager who has worked with Jose Mourinho, and Sunderland were good too. In the first half you’d think that Liverpool would have it easy, yet Sunderland had their chances in the second half and did very well.
“It’s important for me to learn with each game.”
Ryan Brobbel yesterday returned League Two promotion-chasers York City for a second loan spell and will spend the rest of the season at Bootham Crescent.