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Negredo looking good ahead of Sunderland clash, says Karanka

Aitor Karanka thinks a confident Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo is set for a prolific season in the Premier League.

The former Manchester City man netted in newly promoted Boro’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City and is expected to lead their attack in Sunday’s derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Karanka believes self-belief has been crucial for Negredo and is optimistic about the season ahead with the ex-Spain international playing in attack.

“It was really important for Alvaro to score in his first game,” said Karanka.

“I have always said he is a top player and the only thing he needed was to recover his confidence. 

“He feels confident on the pitch and with his team-mates so hopefully it continues. 

“I knew a few players we brought here, their previous seasons weren’t their best, but we are confident in them. 

“Some of them played better than I thought in the game against Stoke. I know how good they are and how good they have been in the past, and this is why I wanted to work with them.”

Two of Boro’s other signings received praise from Karanka ahead of the game with Sunderland, which the ex-Real Madrid assistant claims he will not be treating any differently.

He added: “I was very pleased with Antonio Barragan. He is going to be a very important player for us this season. 

“Gaston Ramirez was one of our first targets this summer. He is an amazing player and I hope he is going to be better every game. 

“Since I arrived here I know how big this [match] is for everybody, but this is my first derby. For us, it is just another three points. It will be a difficult game but we have to think about it like this. We will be the same in the build-up to the game.

“Everybody is fit to play except for Grant Leadbitter and Marten de Roon.”

Fri 19 Aug, 2016
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