Aitor Karanka is calling for the strongest possible referee for Boro’s last day promotion shoot-out against Brighton to help manage the crucial game well.
No doubt, the game would involve high pressure and high stakes in a game worth £100m plus to the victors.
This necessitates the call by the Boro coach to ask for the coolest, calmest and most experienced officials that the Football League can call on. They are still fuming about the mistake by inexperienced linesman Tom Nield at Birmingham that ruled out what would have been a winner for Dani Ayala. He said:
“I would like to have the very best referee.
“The Championship is one of the best leagues in the world and we are both playing to get promotion. I am going to put the best team possible on the pitch and Chris Hughton will put his best 11 on the pitch too.
“And so this game needs the best referees, the best linesmen, the best fourth official – not for Brighton, not for Middlesbrough but for the league.
“This game is being watched all around the world and for the best of the league we need the best officials possible. If a referee makes one mistake the implications are huge – but even a Premier League referee can make mistakes and I prefer not to think about that.
“I can only think about my players and how we play, I can’t control the other things. That is not in my hands.”
Acknowledging how the match might go, Karanka added:
“It is going to be a tough game. There will be good moments but probably also difficult moments on the pitch and especially in those difficult moments, that is where the players need them.
“We need the crowd to be positive because when they are positive we have twelve players. The crowd can trust this squad. This is the most important game and so we all need to be together. The support is the best in the league and they have shown that all season and now we need that one more time.”