‘I have nothing to prove against Middlesbrough’, says Aitor Karanka

Nottingham Forest head coach Aitor Karanka says he has ‘nothing to prove’ as he gears up to face his former club at the weekend.

The Spaniard enjoyed a largely fruitful time n Teesside and was well regarded amongst the Boro faithful, guiding the club to the play-off final in 2015 and automatic promotion the following season.

His tenure became tinted in the subsequent Premier League campaign and his exit in March 2017 prompted mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike.

Much was made of Karanka’s ‘defensive’ style of play during a top-flight season in which Boro netted a league-low 27 goals.

But the former Real Madrid assistant claims he already proved himself at the Riverside and needs no further motivation to claim a win on Saturday (3pm).

“I do not feel as though I have a point to prove. I proved myself during my time there,” he told the Nottingham Post.

“We had very good moments and I do not remember too many bad moments. We were in the Premier League and three points below 17th (when he left). I do not have any bad memories there.

“The players who I have here are different players to the ones I had in Middlesbrough. For that reason the style was different.

“To play attacking football, you need to have players to play with that intensity and that quality. We have that.

“You need a lot of players as well because, in the Championship, we have a game every few days.”

It will be Karanka’s second visit to his old stopping ground as an away manager – the first, a 2-0 defeat to Garry Monk’s side last season.

“I am looking forward to it. I said always that there were three-and-a-half years that were amazing for me.

“I started my career there, so it is a club that will always be in my heart. I have a lot of friends there.

“I am really pleased to go back there. But, during 90 minutes, I will forget all about them.”

Nottingham Forest will come to the Riverside off the back of a 2-2 draw against Millwall on Wednesday, in which they squandered a two-goal lead.

Boro, on the other hand, picked up a 2-0 win against Ipswich midweek and will be looking to knock Leeds from the summit of the table going into the international break.

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