Aitor Karanka has increased the intensity in tonight’s crucial top of the table battle by claiming that Burnley have “no excuses” if they fail in their bid to return to the Premier League.

Aitor Karanka will head to Turf Moor hoping his side can maintain there fantastic run and make it 7 consecutive wins, with Burnley themselves unbeaten in 19, two points behind Boro.

It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between the two managers, with Sean Dyche previously keen to point out on numerous occasions the amount of money spent at Middlesbrough. However, speaking to the Evening Gazette live, Aitor Karanka said he feels it is Burnley who are under pressure and if he had a premier league squad plus Gray and Tarkowski, then maybe they would “have been up by February”.

Karanka said. “Imagine if we were here this season and at the beginning of the season, having been relegated with almost the same team and they were my squad, I would have no excuses not to win promotion again,”

He added. “Imagine if I had a team with 10 to 13 players from the Premier League and my chairman sends me Gray and Tarkowski and other players, maybe we would be in the Premier League in February”.

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Karanka was also quick to deflect any suggestion of nerves ahead of tonight’s encounter. “If we have to be concerned or nervous when we are four points clear of third position with four games to go, then we are doing something wrong,”added The Spaniard.

The Boro boss also feels that however big tonight’s game will seem for the fans, nothing will be decided tonight and it’s likely the title will go to the wire. “I can understand (fans thinking a win tomorrow would nearly guarantee a top two place) but tonight is another three points,” Karanka insisted.

Brighton also play this evening looking to capitalise on the Burnley Boro outcome and Karanka recognises the threat still posed by them. “This season they are doing amazing. It is another difficult rival and Burnley is another one.”


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