'He deserved to be sacked' - Mourinho offers sardonic backing to Karanka exit

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Aitor Karanka left Middlesbrough on Thursday after more than three years in charge with the club fighting relegation from the Premier League.

Meanwhile for Jose Mourinho's visitors, summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan has become an integral player under the "Special One" after initially struggling to adapt in English football following his move from Borussia Dortmund.

Middlesbrough sit in 19th place in the Premier League table after failing to win any of their last 10 games.

His departure came three years and four months into his reign and followed lengthy talks with chairman Steve Gibson.

"Stewart's going to be a big part of the rest of the season for us", said Karanka's former assistant who will audition to retain the role for the remainder of the season at home to Manchester United on Sunday. I really enjoyed his work and his company during my two-and-a-half years working with him.

José Mourinho claims he knows the identities of the Middlesbrough players who he thinks stabbed his friend Aitor Karanka in the back. "I think on the fourth year he deserved to be sacked".




Asked if it was similar scenario to Claudio Ranieri's dismissal at Leicester Mourinho replied: "In this case, I know the names!"

"In the second year, he took the team to the play-off final at Wembley".

When asked if he wanted the job on a permanent basis, Agnew insisted he was exclusively focused on Sunday's match but added taking charge of the first team was a "massive opportunity" and that he had "served [his] time" as an assistant, having worked under Karanka for two and a half years.

"Steve could be a surprise number one".

Assistant head coach Steve Agnew took over first-team duties ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

"[Joe] lives in Bristol - when I made the phone call, he was in the vehicle and was here six hours later, that tells you all you need to know", said Agnew.

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