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Aitor Karanla hopes Birmingham could win the Boro

Sat 16 January 2021 | 18:09

Karanka hopes Birmingham 1-0 winning over Middlesbrough will lead to a brighter end to his first season.


Aitor Karanla 

returned to Riverside Stadium, where he coached for four years, enjoyed the first win in seven matches courtesy of

Scott Hogan

's 26


-  minutes winner.


deserved this point as they work hard, even if


 has a better chance.

The victory boosted daylight between the blues and the

Sky Bet Championship

crash zone, something Karanka wants to ensure will continue to expand.

"I am very pleased with this performance. I hope this is a real sign of the future,"

said Karanka


"We played well today for 45 minutes and then had to defend. We knew we had to defend really well against a good team and we did.

"We have shown we are a good team with the ball and without the ball, we hope this is a sign of what is to come.

"It's a nice feeling to have today because the biggest challenge here has been changing the atmosphere. I thought I'd fixed it earlier in the season, but it's been the same situation. It will be really important for sure."

Former Middlesbrough defender

George Friend

was excellent as part of Birmingham's defense that kept hosts away. Karanka added him to the squad from Boro in the summer.

The Birmingham boss added:

"George was a little sad because he was so good, he is almost blaming himself because he liked it here. He is a top man.

"When I signed him I knew I wasn't signing just a player, I was signing him as a top man off the pitch too.

"We defended well. The main thing is we knew the mistakes we were making before today.

"If you don't know the mistakes, then that's a bigger problem. We know them so we can fix them. We have played improved, but this is just one game."



source: SportMob