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Under-fire Karanka confident of Boro chairman's support

Britain Football Soccer - Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough - Premier League - Selhurst Park - 25/2/17 Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Britain Football Soccer - Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough - Premier League - Selhurst Park - 25/2/17 Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic

(Reuters) - Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is confident he still has the backing of chairman Steve Gibson after last weekend's loss at Stoke City extended the relegation-threatened club's winless Premier League run to 10 games.

Middlesbrough are the league's lowest scorers with 19 goals and, despite a respectable defensive record, their poor form in front of goal this season has seen them drop to 18th, three points adrift of safety with 11 games remaining.

"Of course," Karanka told reporters on Thursday when asked whether he has the full backing of the chairman. "The most difficult moment for me was when I arrived here but he was the first one who transmitted his confidence.

"I don't need to feel that (confidence) every day."

Karanka believes Middlesbrough, who have not scored in their last four league games, are suffering from a confidence crisis.

"We are trying to show the players our confidence in them. They now have to take a step forward knowing that all of us trust them," the under-pressure Spaniard added.

"If the players go to the pitch and don't have the confidence, you have been working for nothing."

Karanka will need a defensive reshuffle for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City, with Calum Chambers and Daniel Ayala ruled out with injury, while George Friend is a major doubt due to a calf problem.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru)

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