Negredo looking good ahead of Sunderland clash, says Karanka

Alvaro Negredo, Antonio Barragan and Gaston Ramirez have been praised by Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka ahead of their trip to Sunderland.

Aitor Karanka thinks a confident Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo is set for a prolific season in the Premier League.

The former Manchester City man netted in newly promoted Boro's 1-1 draw with Stoke City and is expected to lead their attack in Sunday's derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Karanka believes self-belief has been crucial for Negredo and is optimistic about the season ahead with the ex-Spain international playing in attack.

"It was really important for Alvaro to score in his first game," said Karanka.

"I have always said he is a top player and the only thing he needed was to recover his confidence. 

"He feels confident on the pitch and with his team-mates so hopefully it continues. 

"I knew a few players we brought here, their previous seasons weren't their best, but we are confident in them. 

"Some of them played better than I thought in the game against Stoke. I know how good they are and how good they have been in the past, and this is why I wanted to work with them."

Two of Boro's other signings received praise from Karanka ahead of the game with Sunderland, which the ex-Real Madrid assistant claims he will not be treating any differently.

He added: "I was very pleased with Antonio Barragan. He is going to be a very important player for us this season. 

"Gaston Ramirez was one of our first targets this summer. He is an amazing player and I hope he is going to be better every game. 

"Since I arrived here I know how big this [match] is for everybody, but this is my first derby. For us, it is just another three points. It will be a difficult game but we have to think about it like this. We will be the same in the build-up to the game.

"Everybody is fit to play except for Grant Leadbitter and Marten de Roon."

1 comment