Steve Agnew: I will save Middlesbrough from relegation

Aitor Karanka parted company with Middlesbrough on Thursday who sit 19th in the league

Aitor Karanka parted company with Middlesbrough on Thursday who sit 19th in the league

The forthcoming global break will give Gibson time to assess the alternatives, but it seems likely that whoever does get the job - Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew feature in the bookmakers' early list of candidates - will have to work within the head-coach model.

The Spaniard's former assistant has been placed in temporary charge of team affairs while Gibson assesses his options, of which one is to install a proven firefighter on a short-term basis. Stewart is somebody I've known a long time, so I know how he works.

Karanka left his head coach role on Teesside on Thursday with his side second-bottom of the Premier League with 10 games to go, with a club statement insisting the decision was mutual.

But Victor Valdes' late slip allowed Antonio Valencia to tap in late on and seal United's victory.

"I know we'll take that fighting spirit for the rest of the season". If we show that kind of commitment and intensity then we have a real chance of staying in this league. "He's part of our history and achieved something very hard - and it's getting more hard to get out of the Championship and into the Premier League".

'It is a relief to get a goal but the ball has been bouncing, dropping, not quite going in.

Gibson told the Times newspaper: "I've had a lot of discussions with Aitor since the weekend".

It is understood the original intention was to give Karanka the Manchester United game on Sunday to try and get points on the board but chairman Gibson chose to take action more swiftly. "I think he can be the glue to unify us completely".

The former Spurs boss has not worked in the Premier League since leaving QPR in 2015 but he is apparently keen on succeeding Aitor Karanka, who was axed this week.

"There's more to him than people know and a bit more steel".

"Joe is great football guy", he added. We wish him all the very best. "He has progressed us and he will have learned an enormous amount from this experience".

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