Assistant to former Real Madrid manager says Chelsea manager advised him to take Middlesbrough job

Aitor Karanka has revealed that Jose Mourinho urged him to take his first managerial job at Middlesbrough after signing a two-and-half-year deal to take charge of the Championship club.

Karanka, who spent three years as Mourinho’s assistant manager at Real Madrid, has been unveiled as successor to Tony Mowbray as Boro’s new manager after beating off over 100 other applicants to secure the job.

The 40-year-old arrives on Teesside having coached at Real and with Spain ’s Under-16 team, but the former Real and Athletic Bilbao defender has no other experience of management.

Boro chairman Steve Gibson has claimed that Karanka’s qualities made him the outstanding candidate, however, and the Spaniard admits he sought the advice of Chelsea manager Mourinho before taking charge at the Riverside.

“I spoke to Jose and he recommended that I come here to Middlesbrough,” Karanka said. “He said that he believes in this project, just like me.

“This is my time. I had three years with Jose at Madrid and I learned something with him every day. I learned so much from him and his staff.

“You can learn from him each minute because on the pitch and off it, he is the one.”

Having left Madrid with Mourinho during the summer, Karanka had been strongly linked to vacant manager’s position at Crystal Palace following the departure of Ian Holloway last month.

But while refusing to discuss the interest from Selhurst Park, Karanka insisted that Boro offered him the best route into management.

“Boro was the best option,” Karanka said. “I know the history of the club because I was close to signing here as a player in 2005.

“That did not happen in the end, but I know the people and the facilities here and I also know that England is the most important place in football.

“I wanted to play here and I want to work here.”

Boro chairman Gibson, who has bankrolled the club since the early 1990s, claims the time was right for the club to seek a foreign coach having appointed British managers throughout his two decades in charge.

“Football is now a global game and I wanted to appoint the best coach for this club,” Gibson said. “I was once accused of being a little Englander, but you have to go global now and you cannot just look in your back yard.

“There was a template that we devised for the right candidate and Aitor was the outstanding candidate.”