Ex-Middlesbrough boss expects former club to survive next term; praises Karanka

Despite mid-season problems involving Aitor Karanka, Middlesbrough gained promotion to the Premier League after a seven-year absence from the top flight.

Ex-Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has backed his former club to avoid relegation next season, in their first campaign back in the Premier League since 2009, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Southgate was in the hot-seat at the Riverside during their disappointing campaign in 2009, but he feels next season will be different.

"I think there will be a momentum with Middlesbrough," Southgate said. "I think for the next couple of years, maintaining that status will be seen as a positive. The expectations will be a bit lower, but the energy in the stadium will give the team every chance of success."

The Teesside club ensured their promotion to the Premier League after drawing 1-1 with Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday at The Riverside, and Southgate feels a lot of credit has to go to manager Aitor Karanka for guiding his team to the promised land.

"It's fantastic closure for them," he said. "Aitor's done a fantastic job, they've recruited really well and that's key - we've seen that with Leicester."

Karanka's men finished their season with an unbeaten run of 10 games, although four draws in their last four outings ensured they were made to sweat a little more than they originally would have thought.

The Teessiders will now be looking forward to next season, as they look to establish themselves as Premier League regulars.

Boro chairman Steve Gibson has never been shy in backing managers in the transfer market before, and this summer will be crucial to Middlesbrough as they look to continue their impressive recruitment policy and strengthen their squad for what will be a huge jump in quality.

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