Could Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka’s friendship with Mourinho be key to their promotion push?

Date: 10th January 2015 at 6:30 pm
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Tomas KalasNo one can say that Jose Mourinho does not look after his friends, and luckily for Middlesbrough, their boss Aitor Karanka is one of his very best.

So much so, that Chelsea have sent yet another one of their starlets to the club on loan for the rest of the season and you have to wonder how vital those players will be to the Championship club come the end of the season and in the battle for automatic promotion.

Karanka was of course Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid and during their time in Spain, Mourinho came under increasing fire from the Spanish press and sent his number two, Karanka, out to deal with the media more often than not.

Karanka also supported Mourinho when the division between the manager and some of the players reached fever pitch and was the consummate number two on more than one occasion.

The friendship between the two was so tight that Mourinho asked Karanka to come back to England with him and gushed that he was part of his family now – yet Karanka, harbouring ambition to be a head coach in the very near future, refused and eventually took up the job at Boro – yet his friendship with Mourinho remained.

That friendship has proved fruitful not only in the way of advice for Karanka, with Mourinho always willing to answer a call or text message from his former colleague but also in terms of loan players, with Chelsea sending Jamal Blackman, Kenneth Omeruo (for a second spell), Patrick Bamford and Tomas Kalas to the club.

It is not a one way street obviously. Mourinho knows his players will be getting first team football and a chance to improve – just look at Bamford – and also learning under a manager he knows and can trust, but the real benefit is to the side who are looking to get out of the Championship.

Blackman’s effect has been minimal and bar the League Cup, he has not really been able to shine, and the keeper has now returned to his parent club but Bamford has been one of the key players this term for Boro and his goals are simply irreplaceable.

Kalas will look to have the same impact at the back, and you have to assume that given his loan spell with FC Cologne ended due to a lack of playing time, that there have been some assurances between parent and loan club over how much he will play.

Given Kalas can not only play as a central defender but also at right back, it seems that he will be the perfect solution to the injury issues that have hit the club in that area – and the fact that they have a quality replacement who also provides other options across the back four and are not shelling out a transfer fee is another plus.

The Championship is one of the hardest leagues to get out of and has one of the longest seasons – and the players that Chelsea have loaned to Boro could well be invaluable come the end of the season and potentially a play-off run.

Boro fans. How well is Bamford doing? Will his goals be the key feature in your promotion push? Let us know your thoughts below, become a guest blogger or tweet us at @LaFootyettes.

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