A Dug-out Debut Defeat: Welcome To El Championship Senor Karanka

A PREMIER League atmosphere but very much a Championship match.
Leeds had the edge for long spells of their scrappy 2-1 Elland Road win but even with the extra man couldn’t finish Boro off. Even with switch snub striker Ross McCormack powered by football’s Inevitability Drive – and waved on by 10,000 daft quid coupons from both sets of supporters – Leeds couldn’t push home their advantage. And Boro could even, at a push, snatched a spawny point late on through Jutkiewicz. Maybe.
Boro scored a cracking equaliser with ten men through Muzzy Carayol and had patches of shapeless pressure but for all the second half effort and industry they couldn’t force another goal.
Worryingly, but predictably, both Leeds goals came from set-plays, the first from a corner and the second when a poorly defended corner was knocked back in. Both times Boro men were easily beaten in the air. And there were a few other set-piece scares too.
And the red card… people will blame Steele for his rush of blood in steaming out to clatter Blackstock and rightly so, he could have stayed and seen what developed rather than charging in and giving the referee a decision to make – but the problems stemmed from a very poor Ayala header. Was it intended to be a back header to Steele? Was it intended for Richardson? Who knows.
Confusion reigned after the game with no-one in authority from either club able to get a clarification from the referee whether the card was for serious foul play or for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity or whether Steele is facing a one or three match ban but whatever, the situation was created once again from defensive indecision. That is the most pressing problem the new boss will need to address.
No-one expected miracles. It is the same team with the same weaknesses as before. And to be fair, a debut dug-out defeat is the norm. Mogga lost his opener, as did Strachan and Southgate before him. And McClaren was battered 4-0 and lost his first four. The last new boss to win was Bryan Robson back in 1994.
Still, after 10 days watching the team in training at least the boss has now seen in unavoidable full colour glorious blundervision exactly the size of the task in hand. Welcome to el Championship Senor Karanka.
More later….

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78 thoughts on “A Dug-out Debut Defeat: Welcome To El Championship Senor Karanka

  1. EG said: “The new digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channel will launch in 2014.
    “And it is promising a mix of new shows dedicated to the area (Teesside) including local news, current affairs, entertainment arts and culture.”
    I hope football and Boro are under label “culture”.
    Up the Boro!

  2. Ref. Free State Teesside TV
    Perhaps they could hire a ‘Roving Reporter’ from Blackburn.:) Maclntosh and umbrella would be compulsory garb.
    Bernie of course couId set up his own ‘Teeside’s got Footballing Talent’ show with some of our very own youngsters getting a chance to join the Boro Academy.
    Last but not least SG could host a weekly ‘Meet the Fans’ talk show where all contempory events Boro wise could be discussed without of course admitting
    entrance to anyone from Stockton on Mackem land.
    UTB (more likely next season than this)

  3. It was interesting that Phil’s article today said that the final short list for the Head Coach job was made up only of foreigners.
    That does surprise me somewhat, no Parkinson, AV’s choice. Possibly they only looked at Coaches that were out of work, so keeping costs down, but limiting Mr. Gibson’s options
    I wonder if Di Canio was on the list?
    **AV writes: No he wasn’t. The other two were both at clubs.

  4. Pedro –
    I agree it is difficult to have a settled defence especially bearing in mind our five centre backs consist of
    Ayala – hadn’t played for a year before he arrived.
    Hines – coming back from a long injury.
    Woodie – always comong back from injury
    Williams – moved hither and thither and not long back from injury.
    Gibson – nowt but a lad though promising.
    At some point we may have a spell of settled line ups. Should that happen I am sure it would help.

  5. “**AV writes: No he wasn’t. The other two were both at clubs. ”
    So that’s Guardiola and Klopp then.
    I see George Friend has said it isn’t the same old Boro. I sympathise with his views, he is correct in that it is different players and a different manager.
    I think the problem is that the platers, that was a genuine miss type, but as it refers to a race for not quite good enough horses I think it fits, the players think of here and now.
    It is only natural but fans tend to roll disappointments in to one seamless history. Hence typical Boro.
    I think the players are not far off, it has been that way for several years. Something just hasn’t clicked and we have been less than the sum of our parts.
    I don’t think managers, coaches and players (with the rare exception) haven’t tried their best. Hopefully it will come, form can appear as quickly as it goes.
    Here’s hoping, Derby in a weeks time.

  6. AV –
    Di Canio was only tongue in cheek, but then who can tell with SG.
    However looking at the list of all 92 League Managers, I could not see any obvious foreign managers that we could either attract or would be suitable. Assuming foreign means outside of the UK and Ireland.
    I am guessing then that the two in question ply their trade on the Continent, and of course were not seen as good as Señor Karanka.
    **AV writes: One I would say would have gone down well and people would know him and would have been a perfectly acceptable Plan B. The other would have meant doing a bit of homework for most people and was maybe be a bit more of a leap in the dark. Both were interested and had initial talks.

  7. It will be intriguing to see if anyone comes in today.
    Will it show us which way Aitor will take the squad? Very difficult to say unless they are long term targets but will we ever know?
    It could be it is just bulking up the squad, all will be revealed, or not.

  8. You know, a team doesn’t have to be especially good to get promoted from this division. As AV always says, it’s fine margins. There are plenty of examples of teams going up that were no more than sound. They may not last long in the PL but all that is needed is to be free from glaring weaknesses, organised and have the right mix to be well balanced.
    Boro don’t have to improve as much as we think to be up there pushing in the top six. The Boro team that briefly hit the top just a couple of years ago was little different to this lot. Confidence is a wonderful thing and success breeds success. A couple of wins could transform the outlook.
    Most of our current defenders must be capable of becoming a sound unit. The errors are basic and down to a lack of fundamental organisation and presumably poor coaching. If Karanka is any good he should be able to make inroads into that within weeks.
    Having said that, I have little confidence of seeing much this season (could a cup run be a possibility however?). My hopes are pinned on next season (yet again) with the benefit of a couple of transfer windows and nine months of coaching.

  9. Interesting diagnosis and prognosis Nikeboro. Your conclusion being that this will be a longer, how do they say, project In development or some such, than one would wish for.
    ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day- but then l didn’t have that long!’ a quote from my favorite manager of all time, Brian Clough. He got not one but two provincial teams promoted and then both won League Division One title’s in the first season there, Then of course not one to sit on his laurels he went on to manage his team Nottingham Forest to two consecutive European Cup finals winning both.
    Old Big Ed as he oft referred to himself was one in a million and of course we all know where he was born. Looking at his games played against goals scored for the Boro reveals his fundemental thirst for success.
    Has our current manager got the same deep need for success, the same uncompromising desire? Only time will tell .
    Still l think it’s time to put away any thought of excuses, time to stand up and be counted, time to fan the flames of desire for success- it’s time this team and this manager started to win and as Cloughie would probably agree with, the time is now not next January or next season.
    UTB

  10. Shay Given in? I’m both pleased and disappointed.
    I’m disappointed because the advertised ‘3 or 4 in’ didn’t materialise. That’s the kind of strengthening that is needed for a quick impact and progress up the division. I’m especially disappointed by the lack of a CH, Wheater or otherwise. Just as in the summer, all the hype led mainly to let-down.
    However I’m pleased with the importing of Given. Top quality, experienced and, above all, assertive & vociferous, he looks likely to improve greatly on Steele. In particular he should have a beneficial impact in organising the defence and commanding the area.
    This sudden move presumably reflects Karanka’s assessment of Boro’s current players. It looks very much like he finds them wanting. He evidently doesn’t rate our GKs and I’ll bet at least a couple of the prospective loanees were defenders.
    I find this reassuring. Karanka is being realistic about their potential and the degree to which this particular sow’s ear can be made into a silk purse. If Given is representative of the calibre of player he is minded to bring in, then that bodes well.
    **AV writes: To be fair, the club didn’t say “three or four in”, They said they were working hard on three deals that each had their difficulties with another bubbling under. There is no saying that some of those may have been either/or.
    I only spoke briiefly to Gibbo yesterday as he was going into a meeting but he insisted, and I have no reason to doubt him, that they were talking to two established Premier League names who would be a leap in quality. He sounded excited. I presume the other was Michael Keane who opted for Derby instead… that could be for any number of reasons, not least the ease of commuting. “Maybe January” he added.
    The higher you aim, the harder it is to attain the target. The club would have been slated for a lack of ambition if they brought in someone from “the likes of…” who were no better than what we have got.

  11. A welcome to Shay Given but the absence of further cavalry is a spur to the rest of the squad.
    It is a chance to make their mark on the team and the new manager. It is their opportunity to show we don’t need reinforcements.
    Unbeaten until Xmas is the challenge.
    AV –
    Any idea who we missed out on apart from Keane from ManU.
    **AV writes: No. I only talked briefly to Gibbo and didn’t have chance to press him but he said they were established Premier League players.

  12. Slightly disappointed that Boro have only signed Given before the deadline, although if he plays against Bolton, it will certainly be interesting if his experience shows through.
    Obviously Señor Karanka does not fancy Leutwiler, nor the Greek. Then there is Ripley warming Bradford’s bench,he has not played a game yet I believe.
    The disappointed is made worse by the Gazettes headline, “Boro hope to bring in three or four loans ahead of deadline today”, and we end up with Given
    They then have to fill the blank space with Miller going to Yeovil.
    I know these loans are not straight forward, but then to say how close they were to signing two other “exciting” players. Haven´t we heard that before.

  13. So looks like Shay Given on loan for a month. Pity it’s not for longer.
    Heard rumours that David Wheater maybe coming back on loan,not so keen on that. He was a bit of a liability before he went and if Bolton want shot of him doesn’t say much about his ability.
    Also we supposed to be interested in one of Man Utd Keane twins,the defender, he’s only young though and no real first team experience,bit of a risk,I would have thought older more established experienced defenders would be the way to go?
    Any other rumours?
    **AV writes: Wheater was mentioned at the Bolton end. While he was out injured they have brought players in and he’s been down the pecking order. Freedman was keen to get him some shop window game time. Bolton contacted Boro but I don’t know how far that got. He also talked to Doncaster and possibly Millwall loo but then Bolton changed their mind and said he’d be better off training with them.
    Keane though would have been good. He has plenty of experience at this level. He played almost the full season at Leicester last season.

  14. Have we had any decent loanees since Geremi? Let’s wait for January first and see who Karanka wants to keep.
    So not too worried about no show day. Up the Boror!

  15. AV writes
    ‘and possibly Millwall loo’
    There is a joke in there somewhere probably along the lines of I always knew he was ….
    No matter how hard I try I still do typos. One chap I know is called Adrian and no matter what I do I call him Adrain.
    It goes back a long time. At Uni a Cov City fan had a copy of his local version of the Gazette. Willie Stevenson was playing for the reserves and scored with a well placed shit in the corner of the net.
    I will leave you to edit as you see fit.
    **AV writes: When we did the Pink we phoned in reports from a noisy ground to copy takers, not always experts in sporting nuance, who typed it out, then the subs had maybe a couple of minutes to check before it went and the later in the game the more fraught with misprint possibilities.
    We kept a cuttings book of all the best of them and I can assure you there plenty of shits from all kind of angles. Sometimes they went in and Boro would manage to reduce the defecate. There would be fowls in and around the box too. One local rugby team won a penalty late on and, said the Pink, “Julie converted”… the kicker had a new nickname that lasted for years.

  16. Well the experienced keeper I asked for is a Given. I’m very pleased with that as he ticks a lot of boxes. His experience is second to none and hopefully he has a few more games left in him. At least we won’t have to endure star Jumps which is the biggest plus for me.
    It would have been sublime to get a Neanderthal centre half in as well but these things take time and Given’s arrival alone is a massive boost. As Ian alludes to above Given coming in and the fact that “others” were being sought might be the wake up call that one or two need (or three or four).
    In the case of Rhys, he has a World Cup coming up, failure to get a game for Boro would effectively spell the end of his hopes so if not for the Boro then he owes it to himself to make sure he nails down a place in the starting 11 each week whether it be at RB, CB or Midfield.
    Ayala will be thinking I’ve just arrived on loan and I could have been surplus in a matter of weeks. Hopefully the lack of outfield incoming means Big Ben gets a chance alongside Ayala instead of the main cause of disruption at the back in the form of Woody. Likewise Friend can’t have been immune to the blogosphere and his complete inability to push his opponent wide, stand firm, shield and cut out crosses into the box.
    He with his Brothers in Designer tattoo’d Arms now realise that their time is borrowed, its up to them. Collectively they can sulk (wouldn’t make much difference to their performances) or they can realise their careers are at a crossroads.
    Shay hopefully will be able to instruct, organise and shout, something that Steele doesn’t, Woodgate couldn’t and Rhys couldn’t. With an experienced and confident shot stopper shouting, organising, discipling and encouraging behind them Gibson and Ayala might just perform with more ease, Rhys and George meanwhile need to realise they have both just had a reality check.

  17. So; after all the hype that was generated by the Gazette’s headlines of 3 to 4 possible incomings we get “veteran” goalkeeper Shay Given.
    He has been excellent but;for bolstering the defence if you were Michael Keane one look at the table, one look at who Derby have brought in already, one look at their recent results, that alone would have made your mind up if Boro were the other alternative.
    It wasn’t about the commute it was about the image right now that Boro generate which is a team in free fall. Yes they are. Which young highly rated defender (Leicester’s player of the season last year) would want to come to Boro and be put imediately under pressure to save the day in a defence in disarray no matter who plays. Think Man Utd would have pointed him in the right direction.
    The Peter Kenyon connection hasn’t worked there then. But he didn’t leave Man Utd with a warm fuzzy feeling did he no matter who he can phone. (wonder if that gets printed)
    By January we’ll need to be in incontinence pants because Boro will still be on the downward spiral. An upturn I believe will happen and the season will be saved because who knows who will arrive in January;
    Am I angry, most definately. Players to come in, yeah right, this backroom staff re-shuffle Boro can’t even get a so called number 2 and it’s two weeks now.

  18. Redcar Red –
    I would prefer to give Ben Gibson a chance rather than a loannee of similar age. He has plenty of miles in lower leagues and needs to be involved.
    Our Academy products can be as inept as most of the loanees we have brought in. Smallwood’s integration is two years late as far as I am concerned.
    The Gulaging of the Academy was a shame..

  19. So is Karanka’s Boro revolution now on hold until January after just the arrival of Shay Given – though I’m not even sure that the arrival of Che Guevara as his number two would have convinced most fans that the revolution has indeed started.
    It seems the next six weeks will now be about trying to coach the existing players to improve their overall game – maybe the gaps will be filled by youth in the meantime.
    Hopefully Given will be able to shout, point and organise his defence to better effect. His form had dipped somewhat before he lost his place in the first eleven at Villa – though someone experienced in defence is probably what we need right now to help the younger players.
    As Che Guevara once said: “I think the place to start is to recognise the individual’s quality of incompleteness, of being an unfinished product” – wise words, but I’m not sure if he’d done all his badges.

  20. Bringing in Given to cover while Steele is suspended (and maybe longer?) looks a decent move to me. It’s a pity Boro didn’t manage to pull off one or two other deals but it is what it is.
    I’d be feeling a lot more relaxed about waiting for January before new players arrive if we had a few more points on the board. Here’s hoping Karanka can conjure up a run of good results in the coming few weeks. I’m not sure we can afford our traditional post Christmas dip in form this season……..

  21. Good signing in Given. Just an issue of ring rust to worry about but a great keeper.
    Good for us and good for him to get some games pre Jan to put himself in the shop window. Good business for a month. Lets see how he can marshal and communicate with our defence.

  22. How about that other Mexican revoloutionary Panch Villa’s quote – better to die on your feet than live on your knees…….now we could do with that sort of thinking from the defence; bodies on the line non of this turning the backs to the ball but in fairness not many defenders in any Division have that Dickie Rooks type of personna..

  23. ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ by Che Guevara is supposed to be an excellent book, whether or not he wrote any footie coaching manuals I couldn’t say.

  24. So let’s take stock:
    21st October – Mowbray fired. General relief.
    13th November – Karanka appointed. Most pleased, a few question why it took so long given he was available, ticked all the boxes.
    21st November – Pears and Proctor leave.Cachada joins. Took ages for the club to announce what was already known.
    28th November – hope to bring in ‘3 to 4’ loan players. Arrival of Given seen as a positive.
    29th November – no further additions to the back room team – assistant coach, goalkeeping coach etc. To the consternation of some Veno still seems to be with the club.
    So 40 days (sounds almost biblical) after Mogga was fired Karanka is having to make his home debut with both arms tied behind his back. No word of explanation to worried fans – Typical Boro.

  25. 3 or 4 possible incomings, Hah, more flannel!
    I’m not saying I don’t like the idea of Given, but it appears Senor Karanka doesn’t rate any of the other goalkeepers on the club’s books. If that’s the case then ship them out.

  26. Boro Doug,
    I had a case of ring rust once. The cream soon sorted it.
    Good signing on the whole but I do remember him havin a mare shortly before he was dropped. Hopefully it’s out of his system.
    Will be a good experience for young Steele in training also. Win Win I’d say!

  27. Here is some info on demand based pricing at Derby as published on their web site.
    The question was will away fans be subject to demand based pricing.
    ‘No, our agreement with the Football League is that away supporters at Pride Park will be allocated a set price for purchasing in advance of the game and an increase on the match day.’
    In summary Bolton can go whistle!
    Out of interest the chap I work with and mutual friends have asked me to go with them – tickets down as low as £10.

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