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Aitor Karanka shares reason why facing Leeds United is a surprise

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is surprised to see Leeds in the Championship, having faced them in the Champions League.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has told the Yorkshire Post that he was surprised to see Leeds United in the Championship when he took the Boro job in 2013.

Karanka saw his Boro side lose to Norwich City in last year's play-off final, but his team has bounced back well, and currently sit second in the Championship.

Boro face a short trip to Elland Road tonight to face Leeds United, knowing that a win would take them back above Hull City and into top spot as they chase promotion back to the Premier League.

It's a clash between two of the biggest clubs in the Championship, and Karanka has now admitted his surprise that Leeds are even in the position they find themselves in.

Since suffering relegation from the Premier League in 2004, Leeds have struggled to regain their place amongst England's elite clubs - something Karanka was used to during their Champions League days.

In fact, the Spaniard even faced Leeds as a Real Madrid player in the Champions League, and has now told the Yorkshire Post that he is surprised to see the club in the second tier given their illustrious history - and even compared their drop to other big teams like Blackburn Rovers and Derby County.

"On the day (when Karanka met Leeds as Boro boss for the first time in 2013) it was a surprise as the last time I’d faced Leeds was in the Champions League," said Karanka.

"Seeing them 13 years later in the Championship was a surprise, but after two years of playing against the likes of Blackburn, Derby and every other important team in this division, you are more used to playing those games," he added.

Do you think Leeds will beat Middlesbrough tonight?

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