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Aitor Karanka has warned Middlesbrough not to rely upon collecting the points they will need to survive solely at the expense of the Premier League's lesser lights.
Promoted Boro enjoyed a positive start to life back in the top flight when they took five points from their opening three games against Stoke, Sunderland and West Brom and felt they were unfortunate to emerge empty-handed from a home clash with Crystal Palace in their next outing.
However, the defeat by Palace has been followed by two more at the hands of Everton and Tottenham, and while the club's fate may not ultimately be decided by what they do against clubs occupying the higher reaches of the division, head coach Karanka insists they cannot afford to write off those games.
We can't think that we have just important points against them because one day we are going to arrive at those games and we are going to lose.
We have to try to add the points as soon as possible and forget who the opponent is because when we play with our intensity and our style...
We played really well against Everton and when we played with our intensity and our consistency and the right attitude, we were at least as good as Tottenham, and we are speaking about a team which is playing in the Champions League and is unbeaten in the Premier League.
We have to keep going in that way. We are learning, but we have to learn quickly because the games are going and we are losing games.
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