Boro v Hull City: Karanka urges his team to focus ahead of vital clash

Middlesbrough take on Hull City at the Riverside Stadium on Monday Credit: ITV News

Boro boss Aitor Karanka has warned his side to take nothing for granted against fellow strugglers Hull.

Despite a recent improvement in performances, Boro go into Monday night's Riverside Stadium clash sitting just one point above Mike Phelan's Tigers, whose own poor form has seen them branded relegation favourites.

Hard-earned points at Arsenal and Manchester City and a narrow home defeat to Chelsea last month have raised hopes of survival on Teesside but Karanka knows his side's previous failures against so-called lesser teams have cost them dear.

Despite their problems in the top-flight this season, Karanka believes Hullwill travel to the north-east buoyed by their midweek EFL Cup win over Newcastle which sent them through to the semi-finals.

But he said Middlesbrough and Hull share the same goal - to stay in the Premier League.

It's an important game because Hull and us share the same target. That is to be in the Premier League next season. But we are in December, so knowing this is an important game, we cannot drive ourselves crazy thinking it is a final or something. We have to focus."

Aitor Karanka, Middlesbrough Manager