Aitor Karanka: New Nottingham Forest boss relishing pressure at City Ground

New manager Aitor Karanka says he feels “trusted” by the Nottingham Forest owners and is relishing the pressure of being expected to take them to the Premier League.

The 44-year-old Spaniard, who replaced Mark Warburton as boss on Monday, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract.

“The owners have the same target as me – to get promotion,” Karanka told BBC Nottingham Sport.

“When you have the badge of Forest you need to feel the pressure.”

  • WATCH: Karanka tells BBC Nottingham Sport he is ready for management return

Karanka has been out of work since being dismissed by Middlesbrough in March 2017.

Forest are 14th in the Championship, 11 points outside the play-off places and Karanka is Nottingham Forest’s 10th full-time manager since Billy Davies’ dismissal in June 2011.

“Hopefully I can say after two and a half years we are in the Premier League,” Karanka added.

“If we can get it this season or next season – perfect, but we have to keep calm and go together because going together is the only way you can achieve something.

“Since the owners arrived they are trying to do the best to put the club where it deserves to be. Their ambition is my ambition.

Aitor Karanka: New Nottingham Forest boss relishing pressure at City Ground

“They showed me their desire and ambition to do something nice in this big club. A club like this deserves to be in the Premier League.

“Football is a business but I decided to come here because I felt the owners and chairman and club want to build something.

“It is a really nice project and I like to stay here. I am calm because they trust me and I trust them. This is not a short race – it is a marathon but the club has the same aim. We have time but we will see.”

The former Real Madrid assistant expects his players to embrace the expectations of playing for a club of Forest’s stature.

“The players have to realise they are in a big club with a nice project and big clubs are always thinking about winning,” he said.


Natalie Jackson, BBC East Midlands Today sports editor

Karanka will be seen by most as an extremely credible appointment having so recently won promotion from the Championship and he talked passionately about embracing the challenge of taking Nottingham Forest back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

He seemed relaxed and refreshed after a 10-month break, but it was clear he had not become detached from English football.

The Spaniard has a reputation as a disciplinarian and his enthusiasm and focus was clear from his first news conference. His insistence that pressure is to be relished will be welcomed at a club with a proud history where the level of expectations have often seemed like a burden.

Karanka looked comfortable and, interestingly, spoke about the mutual trust that he said he felt between himself and the owners. He genuinely seemed excited to have a new “project” after three and a half years at Middlesbrough.

This is the first official managerial appointment made by new owner Evangelos Marinakis and this is the time to judge the new regime and their promises to bring stability and continuity to the City Ground. Karanka will need time, backing and patience.