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Karanka says he would settle for 17th place

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has revealed that he would be satisfied with the season if his side would finish in 17th place.

Middlesbrough sits in 17th place after a difficult start to the season, where they only managed to pick up one win in the opening eight games.

“For me, I don’t care because I want to be in this position in May,” Karanka said.

“I said always in the Championship when you asked me about being first or second or third at that moment, I said always that my aim was to be at the top or second in May.

“We were second last season so we are in the Premier League now and if in May we finish 17th, I will be really, really pleased.”

Middlesbrough takes on Arsenal on Saturday at the Emirates, with the Gunners coming off a 6-0 thumping on Ludogorets in the Champions League.

“I watched the game, but I didn’t need to watch the game to know their players, to know their style because they play always in the same way,” Karanka said.

“It was another amazing game, but when you have players like Mesut Ozil, like Santi Cazorla, like Alexis Sanchez, like 25 players, it’s easy to play in that way.

“We just have to have our idea and our plan and go there thinking that we can beat them.”

The Spanish manager also praised goalkeeper Victor Valdes for his character, as the former Barcelona and Manchester United shot stopper is having a positive influence on the team.

“I’m really pleased because I see him on the pitch, at the training ground, in the changing room or the canteen and his face is always positive, he’s always happy.

“He is settling step-by-step because to come from Barcelona, Manchester United, from there to here, is not easy. But he knows he’s an important player for us on the pitch and especially off the pitch.

“He’s a winner, so it’s not a coincidence, his CV. For that reason, even in the Premier League at Middlesbrough Football Club he wants to win and he demands from every single player that we have to win.

“That character is good for the team at this moment.”

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