Middlesbrough team-mates helped Kike debut - Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough players celebrate Daniel Ayala's goal
Daniel Ayala celebrates with Lee Tomlin, Emilio Nsue and Kike after scoring for Middlesbrough

Manager Aitor Karanka praised his Middlesbrough team for creating a platform for Kike's impressive debut in Saturday's 2-0 win against Birmingham.

The 24-year-old Spanish striker scored the second goal in his first Championship appearance following a summer move from Real Murcia.

"Kike played very well against Birmingham and I'm happy with his performance," Karanka told BBC Tees.

"The team was supporting him, the team is the most important thing."

Karanka was forced to reshuffle when full-back Ben Gibson was withdrawn early on, giving an early return to action for Kenneth Omeruo following his second loan move from Chelsea.

"Ken is improving every single minute," he said.

"He came in seven months ago and didn't play many games in the Championship, but now he looks as though he's been here 10-15 years. There's confidence in him."

Top Stories