Aitor Karanka claims this international break has come at an ideal time for Middlesbrough following their tricky run of results.

Break a timely boost for Boro boss

Break a timely boost for Boro boss

Boro enjoyed a good start to their first season back in the Premier League for seven years when they had picked up five points from their opening three matches ahead of the September internationals.

However, three successive defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace, Everton and Tottenham respectively, before a draw at struggling West Ham in the following month have left the Teessiders down in 16th spot, just two points clear of the relegation places after seven games.

Karanka was pleased his side stopped the rot with last Saturday's 1-1 draw at the London Stadium and his happy to have the majority of his squad on the training ground for a two-week stint ahead of the visit of Watford to the Riverside Stadium on Sunday week.

The likes of Calum Chambers, Viktor Fischer, Gaston Ramirez and Cristhian Stuani are away on international duty, but the Boro boss said: "A few of the players are away with their national teams but it's always good to spend time with the players on the training pitch.

"Especially as we lost three games and got just one point [at West Ham].

"The main thing for me was for the players to recover their confidence [before the international break], and I could feel in the changing room after the West Ham game that it was completely different than it was against Everton or Tottenham."