Former Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka has told Spanish publication, Marca, that he left the City Ground after the initial project changed.

The Spaniard arrived on Trentside in January 2018, signing a two-and-a-half year contract, according to BBC Sport.

Former Middlesbrough boss Karanka departed just a year into his contract, being replaced by Martin O’Neill in January of this year.

For the first time since his departure, Karanka has been fielding questions regarding his time with Forest.

(Photo by Mick Walker – CameraSport via Getty Images)

He told Marca: “The project was to do what we had done at Middlesbrough; the first season of acclimatisation because they had been saved the previous year at the last second, take a leap of faith in the second and try to climb, probably, in the third but during the whole process that project changed a bit.

“There was some uncertainty and I decided to leave at a time when the next coach had room to manoeuvre with the signings.”

It was perhaps a strange one that Karanka departed a club, despite the fans largely in unison that he was the right man for the job.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

He continued: “Fans were excited. The stadium had 28,000 spectators at all the matches and yet the uncertainty is created and it transfers to the squad. The players felt the pressure, they saw that I was in their hands and even though I was trying to free them that them to not be at their level. In the end, it was best I stepped aside for the history of the club, the fans and the players.”

The Seat Pitch Verdict

Karanka was clearly a popular figure during his time at the City Ground. These comments do serve to at least give Forest supporters an explanation.

The Reds were seventh when he departed in January and were finely poised for a play-off push. Obviously, the club’s hierarchy perhaps felt that he should have been performing slightly better in his role.


Things haven’t perhaps gone according to plan under O’Neill just yet. Yesterday, Forest thumped Middlesbrough 3-0 and he will need his side to put in two more big performances during their last couple of fixtures.


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