By Danny Wright
Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has predicted that Newcastle will fare better than Brighton in the Premier League next season.
BBC pundit Danny Murphy has recently claimed that he believes Chris Hughton’s side will finish above the Magpies due to the overwhelming expectancy from the St. James’ Park crowd, which has sparked a whole debate on who will come out on top between the two newly-promoted clubs.
Karanka, 43, thinks that Newcastle’s experience of the top-flight and the wisdom of Rafa Benitez will see them do a better job out of the two automatically promoted sides.
“I think Newcastle (are most equipped to cope in the Premier League),” said Karanka on Goals on Sunday, which aired on Sky Sports 1 at 10.30AM on Sunday.
“They have more experience and they are a big, big club – even when they were in the Championship.
“50,000 people at the stadium, Rafa Benitez is an experienced manager but I am really pleased for Chris because he took the team two-and-a-half years ago and they almost got promoted last year, almost were champions this year and he is the kind of person who deserves it.”
Karanka led Boro to the Premier League last season but struggled to keep them in the division and was eventually sacked in mid-March, only to see the Teesiders eventually face instant relegation despite his dismissal.
It was the Spaniard’s first spell in top level management after working with the Spain Under-16 side and as assistant manager at Real Madrid.
Middlesbrough’s lack of goals proved to be the main concern though as they failed to expand from a sturdy defence to rescue points at the other end of the pitch.
Newcastle secured the Championship title on the final day of the season thanks to Brighton dropping points at Aston Villa.
Jack Grealish’s late equaliser led to rapturous scenes at St. James’ Park after Benitez had masterminded a thrashing of Barnsley.
He is now expected to spend big in the summer after owner Mike Ashley gave him his full financial backing to ensure relegation will not happen again.
In other Newcastle news, the odds of this striker joining the Magpies have been slashed to evens.