Aitor Karanka is under increasing pressure to succeed at Middlesbrough
That Aitor Karanka was again unable to fashion an elusive win will raise more questions about the Middlesbrough manager’s future.
The Spaniard is on thin ice with the Riverside Stadium hierarchy after claiming that they have failed to back him in the transfer market. He also cast doubt over whether the squad is good enough to avoid relegation but, in fairness, he may have a point.
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Boro lacked nothing in energy or desire but real quality is missing. It is now six games without a Premier League win for Karanka’s men and this result will do nothing to lighten the mood.
West Brom led in the sixth minute when James Morrison, a player nurtured in the youth ranks at Boro, drove a right-foot shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
The response from Boro was impressive and, after Gareth McAuley felled Alvaro Negredo, the former Manchester City striker converted from the spot in the 17th minute.
Boro had another penalty claim when Allan Nyom tripped Cristhian Stuani, before Albion hit the post in quick succession through Matt Phillips and Salomon Rondon.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-5-1): Valdes 6; Barragan 6, Bernardo 7, Gibson 7, Fabio 6; Stuani 6 (Bamford 69, 6), De Roon 6, Clayton 6, Forshaw 7, Traore 7; Negredo 7 (Gestede 87). Booked: Negredo. Goal: Negredo 17 pen. NEXT UP: Tottenham (a), Sat PL.
WEST BROM (4-2-3-1): Foster 6; Nyom 6, McAuley 7, Dawson 7, Brunt 6; Yacob 6, Fletcher 6; Morrison 7, Chadli 6 (McClean 59, 6), Phillips 7; Rondon 6 (Robson-Kanu 64, 6). Booked: Dawson. Goal: Morrison 6. NEXT UP: Stoke (h), Sat PL.
Referee: S Atwell (Warwickshire).