Middlesbrough boss Steve Agnew forced to seek Jose Mourinho out for handshake

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MIDDLESBROUGH chairman has no plans to approach Nigel Pearson or Steve McClaren to replace Aitor Karanka.

"I've known Steve a long time".

Antonio Valencia's stoppage-time goal secured all the points for Jose Mourinho's side, but Agnew, in his first match in charge since Aitor Karanka departed, believes that Boro were good enough for at least a point.

Karanka left his head coach role on Teesside on Thursday with his side second-bottom of the Premier League with 10 games to go, with a club statement insisting the decision was mutual.

Steve Agnew is now in charge until Middlesbrough appoint a new boss. It's a club that I have a big affection for and I love the people in the area and the passion of the crowd and the North East football, ' Agnew told BT Sport.

He stopped the rot and, after suffering the heartache of a play-off final defeat by Norwich, guided Boro back into the top flight as runners-up to Burnley last season.

'I couldn't be more proud of the group of players, ' Agnew said.

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"We didn't quite get the bounce of the ball to get the equaliser, which on the balance of play I thought we deserved".

"If we show that commitment and that sort of intensity until the end of the season then we have a real chance of staying in this league".

I have to be honest, it was a really hard day yesterday, a very emotional day, but then today the players have trained well and we look forward to the weekend.

"Joe is great football guy", he added.

"We are better because of him and I hope he is better because of the experience".

Despite playing a straight bat as he addressed the media for the first time on Friday, Agnew subtly made it clear he is a very different coach to Karanka. "He deserves a good future in the game".

United are in sixth place in the Premier League with 49 points, six points behind fourth-place Liverpool and the coveted Champions League places.

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