Middlesbrough position 'hard to believe' - Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka
Former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka became the first non-British manager to take charge of Middlebrough in November 2013

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka says he is finding it hard to believe the position they are in following the win at promotion rivals Derby County.

Patrick Bamford scored the only goal as Karanka's side leapfrogged Bournemouth into second in the Championship table.

Defeat at Nottingham Forest earlier this month was their third in five league games and left Boro fourth.

"If someone said we would be in this situation, I would have thought he was crazy," Karanka told BBC Radio Tees.

"We know how difficult it is to be in this position and how difficult it is to win every single point, so now we have to work again."

Middlesbrough are bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2009 and only goal difference seperates them from new leaders Watford.

Karanka also praised captain Jonathan Woodgate after the centre-back helped his side achieve their 20th clean sheet of the campaign.

They have the best defensive record in the Championship, conceding just 27 goals in 38 games.

"He was close to retiring five months ago," the Spaniard said.

"Now he's a vital player for us - he always has been in the changing room, and now he is on the pitch."

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