AITOR KARANKA has described Middlesbrough’s 3-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday as the ‘worst game’ since he took over last November.

Middlesbrough were second-best in all departments but could have earned a point after Grant Leadbitter’s second half penalties reduced the arrears to one after Atdhe Nuhiu’s brace and Stevie May’s first goal for Wednesday gave the visitors a 3-0 lead.

Karanka was unhappy with his side’s performance and admitted he did not see it coming.

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“It was a surprise. You might think that I’m crazy but there were positives. The one good thing was that we had a chance to draw the game. This is the worst game we’ve played since I came here yet we had the chance to draw,” said Karanka.

“We have to learn from this. Some players think they are untouchable. I don’t know if they think they are. Every day I tell them they aren’t untouchable.

“I would like to know why we were so poor. I don’t know if there was any reason. I told them at the beginning that we need to be careful from set-pieces but we conceded three. It’s difficult to analyse the game and keep calm now because I think it’s worse.

“Everything was different. The only good thing was the chance to draw the game.

Karanka’s side host Preston North End in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, and the manager cannot wait for that game to come around.

“I would like to play against Preston now,” said Karanka, who refused to be drawn on any transfer news. “The best way to forget about a game is to go into the next one. I will pick the best XI to win the game.

“Transfers? I would like to have seven new players. But for now I want to analyse the game.”