Aitor Karanka is delighted with his impact in nearly three years at Middlesbrough, but claims the club is still 'on the up'.

Karanka claims Boro are still rising

Karanka claims Boro are still rising

The Boro boss arrived as Tony Mowbray's successor during the November international break in 2013 and has gradually helped the club move away from the lower reaches of the Championship and back into the Premier League after a seven-year absence.

Karanka's first full season ended in play-off final heartbreak against Norwich at Wembley before he further improved the squad to gain automatic promotion last term.

The Teessiders are now trying to get a foothold in the Premier League and Karanka feels there is still more to come from his tenure at Boro, who he likens to Athletic Bilbao in Spain because "the support of the whole area is what has shaped the club, especially in times when the area is perhaps going through a bit of a rough patch".

It's been a testing start to the Premier League season, with Boro down in 16th place on six points from seven games, but Karanka still feels the positivity from the Riverside stands.

He said: "Gradually I think we have managed to bring back the optimism and I think this is very important, to be able to go to the Riverside with 32,000 people every game enjoying the kind of atmosphere that I think people used to enjoy in the past."

The objective now is to ensure the team can remain in the top flight and Karanka is looking to make that happen with his own style of football.

Speaking to the in-house TV channel of, he added: "It has been a gradual process because my style is to try and organise a team the best I can, to make sure we can play to the best of our ability so we can compete against some really incredible teams and world famous managers.

"I think this is the most important thing, that people can see Middlesbrough Football Club is doing things well and we are a club that’s on the up.

"It's where this club deserves to be, for its organisation, its facilities and everything and, for me, it makes me proud to have been able to do it in just two-and-a-half years in a difficult situation and to be the one to take the club back to where it should be."