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Football League

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka wants to see a repeat of last season's finish

Boro manager looking for promotion to the Premier League in North East

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has asked his squad to replicate their end-of-season form in the early stages of the new Championship campaign.

Boro won six games out of eight in the final two months and finished in the top half of the second tier after a shaky start.

The Teessiders begin their new season with a home fixture against Birmingham City and are optimistic of securing a play-off spot next May.

"I hope we start the season in the same way we finished last season," Karanka told BBC Tees.

"The aim is to work is improve the squad as much as we can because we felt last season, with a little bit more, we could have got a better position.

"It will be tough, but it would be easy to say we want to get promotion this season."

The former Real Madrid coach has signed Tomas Meijas, Kike and Emilio Nsue in the hope of achieving the club's ambitions.

Despite the influx of foreign talent, however, Karanka is keen to stress the importance of speaking English.

"I demand for all the players to speak English. We are in England and we have to respect the country and the players," he added.

"When we are in the technical room we speak English and for the players I want the same, because when they are speaking it better, it will be easier for them."