- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

MIDDLESBROUGH, England (AP) - Aitor Karanka left Middlesbrough on Thursday after more than three years in charge with the club fighting relegation from the Premier League.

The Spanish coach has been on a 10-game winless run that has left Middlesbrough next-to-last in the standings, three points from safety with 11 games remaining. Karanka’s exit leaves last-place Sunderland as the only team in the bottom six not to change managers this season.

“Following discussions, both parties have agreed that it is in the best interests of the club to make this change,” Middlesbrough said in a statement.

The 43-year-old Karanka, who worked under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, has been at Middlesbrough since 2013 and steered the club back to the top division.

“I’d like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with,” said Karanka, who was due to face Mourinho’s Manchester United on Sunday.

“I’d also like to thank the fans for their support. This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough Football Club the very best for the future.”

Karanka’s last game in charge was a 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday. Assistant head coach Steve Agnew took over first-team duties ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

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