However, head coach Aitor Karanka has revealed to the Manchester Evening News that he has been speaking to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho about how to defeat the Manchester giants.
The duo worked together at Real Madrid, with former Spanish international Karanka assisting Mourinho to victory in the Copa del Rey and La Liga in successive seasons. Despite being asked to join him at Stamford Bridge when the Portuguese coach returned to Chelsea, Karanka refused so as to start his own managerial career.
He has since been a success with Boro, making the Teeside club one of the real contenders for promotion to the Premier League, although he has retained his links with Mourinho, and has three Chelsea players on loan at the club. Kenneth Omeruo and Patrick Bamford have impressed since joining the club at the start of the season, whilst defender Tomas Kalas joined the club this transfer window after his failed loan spell with FC Koln.
And not only has Karanka been utilising Mourinho’s squad for his benefit, but he has revealed that he has been speaking with the Blues boss ahead of the FA Cup tie with Manchester City. It would be a real surprise if Boro could overcome City, but the Spaniard has asked Mourinho how to best defeat the current English champions.
“I speak with Jose every single week,” the coach was quoted as saying to the Manchester Evening Post. “Jose needed to know more from me, when he played against Watford and the others, then I need to know things for him about City in return.
“We've now got a big chance in the league and Cup. When the draw was made I thought, ‘Brilliant, we can now face one of the best squads in the world’.
“They say City are the sixth richest club in the world. If football has one good thing it's that the budget on the pitch sometimes doesn't count for everything. If the richest teams won all the time that wouldn't be football.”