Karanka ‘smiled’ at Valencia link

Aitor Karanka suggested he was flattered to be linked to Valencia but insisted he was happy at Middlesbrough and had no dealings with Jorge Mendes.

Mendes was mentioned in reports from Spain as part of the reason Los Che could appoint the former Real Madrid assistant to replace Gary Neville, with Mendes something of an advisor to Valencia owner Peter Lim and a broker in getting Karanka to Teeside.

“I smiled when I saw it. The first thing everybody needs in Valencia – and for Gary Neville – is to be calm,” Karanka said, the Northern Echo reports.

“I said two months ago that Valencia is a big team with big expectations, and he is doing his job. He needs confidence and for the club to trust him.

“But while my first reaction was to smile, the second was to look at it and it was reported that Valencia were interested in me because of my connection with Jorge Mendes.

“I’ve never been in touch with him since I arrived. The last time I spoke with him was more than two years ago. That was funny. There is nothing in it for me because my head’s here at Middlesbrough.

“Stories about my job are good because I am already in the best place to work. But it’s curious when the stories state my connection with Jorge Mendes and that’s not true because we have not been in touch for the last two and a half years.

“If I had thought of other places I wouldn’t have signed a new contract. I would have finished this season and I would have been free at the end of this season.

“But I signed four more years here because I want to be here, my family is happy here, and I want to stay here. I have said always that I am in the right place to be.

“I want to fulfil the targets I had in my mind when I moved to Middlesbrough. We are in a better position than we were in my first season, last season we were in a better position than we were in my first season.

“For that reason I just have to keep going and to take it step-by-step. Hopefully one day we will play in the Premier League.”

Tags Aitor Karanka Middlesbrough