Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has credited the two Chelsea players he has on loan as a largely responsible for his side’s good form this season.
Karanka worked with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and used his contacts to sign two of Chelsea’s most promising young players- Patrick Bamford and Tomas Kalas- both of whom have excelled, Bamford to the point where he was awarded with Championship Young Player of the Year just a few days ago. Both players are likely to be playing Premiership football next season, either with Boro, should they get promoted, with Chelsea or with another Premiership team on loan.
On the two, Karanka said this to the Northern Echo:
“He is a better player now than when he first came to the club. He has achieved the objective that was there at the beginning of the season for him, for us and for Chelsea.
“I think the season has been perfect for him, and the same is true for Tomas Kalas. He came here from Germany, where he had not played a game, but here he played a lot of matches and improved a lot.
“He is happy and Chelsea are happy – and Patrick is the same. He wasn’t really a kid when he came here because he is 21 and was already a good player, but he has taken his opportunity and has improved every single day.
“At the beginning, maybe he played more for himself. But now he is fighting with the team and now he is a different player. He knows how much he needs to work every single game, and he is doing that. He is a quality player.”