Former Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka has parted company with Middlesbrough with the club in the Premier League relegation zone.

Karanka – who enjoyed a distinguished playing career at the Bernabeu and with Athletic Bilbao – was Jose Mourinho’s number two over his three seasons with Madrid, and took over Boro in November 2013 with the club struggling in 16th in the Championship.

He took the club to the playoff final in his first full season in charge before winning automatic promotion the following year, but he has now left the club after taking only four points from the last ten league matches.

“Both parties have agreed that it is in the best interests of the club to make this change,” read a club statement, with assistant Steve Agnew set to take over for Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.

“The club would like to thank Aitor for all his hard work over the past three and a half years and for the success we’ve had during that time. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Karanka said: “I’d like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with. I’d also like to thank the fans for their support.

“This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough the very best for the future.”

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