Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka insists he will not set his team out to defend in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Teesside club have managed just one league win all season, a 2-1 victory at Sunderland back in August, and last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Watford saw them slip closer to the bottom three.
Second-placed Arsenal, meanwhile, have lost only once in all competitions this term and enjoyed a spectacular 6-0 Champions League victory over Ludogorets on Wednesday.
But while admitting he was impressed by that performance, Karanka claimed his side would not be heading to north London simply looking to grind out a point.
“I always try to prepare to beat the opponents,” he said in his pre-match news conference.
“Arsenal will be difficult, but it’s not the kind of game where I go to defend for 90 minutes. We might have to defend for 90 minutes if they play amazing, but that’s not my idea.
“I watched it [the Ludogorets game], but I didn’t need to watch it to know their style. It was an amazing game but when you have players like Mesut [Ozil], [Santi] Cazorla and [Alexis] Sanchez, it’s easy to play in that way.
“We have to have our idea, our plan and go to beat them.”
The Spaniard went on to reveal that he fully expected this season to be a challenging one and backed his players to haul themselves out of danger.
“It’s really important to stay positive and keep believing in ourselves,” he said. “We’ve been working for three years. In the past we’ve been successful, so we have to keep going.
“All the players are training well because they know how big this opportunity is. Last season we were used to winning five in six, this season we are winning one in nine or 10, but we knew at the beginning of the season it would be really tough.
“We just have to enjoy it, to grow. We have been here [in the Premier League] just three months. We have been working hard to play these games.
“We have players with great quality and one day they will score. We just have to keep improving.”