Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karanka Not Impressed by Underwhelming Boro; PRESTON NORTH END 0 MIDDLESBROUGH 0

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Karanka Not Impressed by Underwhelming Boro; PRESTON NORTH END 0 MIDDLESBROUGH 0

Article excerpt

AITOR Karanka admitted Preston produced a better performance than his Middlesbrough side as the pre-season favourites for promotion started in underwhelming fashion.

Boro were in competitive action for the first time since the Sky Bet Championship play-off final defeat to Norwich three months ago and were held to a 0-0 stalemate by newly promoted North End at Deepdale.

Despite being able to boast returning midfielder Stewart Downing in their ranks, the visitors failed to find the target with any of their seven attempts and lacked the cutting edge which former loanee Patrick Bamford gave them so often last term. "I said before the game we would be making a big mistake if we think every game will be easy," Karanka said.

"They played very well and were very well organised defensively, and they wanted the ball more than us, so we have to improve.

"I am not making excuses. I have a squad that I imagine is better than theirs and they played better than us.

"They were very well organised and we couldn't play in our way."

Boro's lack of attacking thrust suggested their Spanish manager, who this week penned a new four-year contract at the Riverside, may need another forward if their top-flight dream is to be realised.

The Teesside outfit have already had one bid rejected for Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes after his 21-goal campaign in 2014-15 and Karanka conceded he remains in the hunt for a striker.

"Jordan Rhodes is one player who scores goals, but we have other alternatives," he declared.

"I don't want to speak about Jordan Rhodes every Press conference because he is not my player and I have to think about my players."

Karanka then added: "We need players who will score goals. We have Kike and (Cristhian) Stuani and we need to bring in players who can score goals.

"Jordan is one name on the list and we have other ones. …

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