Karanka hits out at 'awful' Riverside atmosphere

By Stephen Creek 22 January 2017
Karanka hits out at 'awful' Riverside atmosphere

Aitor Karanka lashed out at Middlesbrough supporters and blamed his side's 3-1 home defeat to West Ham on an "awful" atmosphere at the Riverside Stadium.

Two goals from Andy Carroll either side of Cristhian Stuani's equaliser put West Ham in control in the first half, and Karanka's players failed to muster a response in the second before Jonathan Calleri compounded their misery in injury time.

Boro are 16th in the Premier League after failing to win in their last five matches, but Karanka insisted the club's fans must remember how far his side have come in recent years.

"I was really upset with the last 10 minutes. We didn't play in the way we have to play, in the way we know how to play, and it was because the atmosphere was awful," he said.

"The fans demanded a lot of the players. We don't know how to play in that way, playing in that way we didn't create one chance and the team was broken on the pitch.

"That's something I don't like at all. We have to improve. [The fans] and we need to understand where we were last season or two seasons ago, and I think these players deserve more respect."

Karanka complained about pressure from the home crowd forcing his side to play a long-ball style that they are not accustomed to.

He said: "When you don't have the experience, and I don't know how many thousand people are asking for long balls, at the end you have to play long balls. It's a style we don't know how to play.

"We didn't play one game or one minute in the Championship [like that] when we got promoted and it's something we have to fix. While I'm here, we won't be playing long balls."

Middlesbrough have won only four games in the Premier League this season, but Karanka gave supporters a reminder that their side spent seven years in the Championship before he won them promotion.

"I said last season that [fans] have a small memory and if I was a player and my crowd left the stadium five or 10 minutes before the finish, when three years ago the team and club was going to League One... I felt it wasn't good," he added.

"They knew this season would be a tough season for everybody but they can't forget where the club was last season, two, three, four, five or six seasons ago."

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