Aitor Karanka, Middlesbrough part ways

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Aitor Karanka is out at Middlesbrough, and Steve Agnew is in, as the Premier League’s 19th place side announced Thursday that the manager and club have mutually decided to part ways.

The Middlesbrough boss, 43, led the club to the promotion playoff final in 2015 before qualifying the club for the Premier League with a runner-up finish one season later.

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Boro spent the first month of its campaign in the top half, but steadily dropped before entering the drop zone after the last match day. From MFC.co.uk:

“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 Football Club the very best for the future.”

Karanka clashed with the team toward the end of last season, and seemingly called out players like Stuart Downing after Sunday’s FA Cup quarterfinal loss to Manchester City in saying he wasn’t starting players who didn’t have enough desire. The pair was said to have a training ground fight last week.

A longtime Jose Mourinho ally who played 28 times for the Colorado Rapids in 2006, Karanka led one of the stingiest teams in the Premier League (Their 30 goals allowed is tied for fifth-fewest with Everton). But Boro could hardly score, their 19 league goals five less than the second-worst attack.