Former Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka has spoken in-depth for the first time about his departure from the City Ground.
The Reds confirmed, via their official website, that the Spaniard had departed the club around four months ago. He left the Reds sat seventh in the Championship, four points adrift of the play-off places.
Speculation about Karanka’s future began on Boxing Day, after the Reds squandered a three-goal lead against Norwich City. The Telegraph‘s report at the time suggested that a change could be made, and results suffered in the weeks that followed.
In the end, the uncertainty resulted in Karanka leaving the club. He felt that leaving the club when he did gave them the best possible chance of still securing promotion.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mirror, the 45-year-old said: “I felt under pressure and I was trying to take all the pressure out and away from the players.
“When there are rumours that you can’t control it puts pressure on the players and this persuaded me to leave.
“It’s a shame what happened. I waited ten months for the right project and they convinced me that it was more of less the same in what I had at Middlesbrough.
“I had the first season (at Forest), it went as we had talked about, then the second season something changed. When you arrive at a training ground, to see and to feel the players with that uncertainty it was difficult for me.”
The Reds have since appointed Martin O’Neill as Karanka’s successor. It’s fair to say that a section of the club’s supporters still rue the Spaniard’s departure. The fact that O’Neill was unable to secure a play-off finish is the main reason behind this.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Karanka given another challenge in English football. His spell at Middlesbrough proved that he has the credentials to be a success. But in his interview with the Daily Mirror, he also states that he would be willing to consider options abroad.
Although his recent comments will frustrate some supporters, his insight into his departure may provide some closure to the matter.
O’Neill now looks set to be back next season. He’ll be hoping that he can finally end the Reds’ long wait for Premier League football.