After taking a break of 18 months following his departure from Nottingham Forest, Aitor Karanka returned to management last summer when Birmingham City appointed him as their boss for this season.

The Spaniard struggled to help the Championship club change their fortunes and after having managed only three leagues win in 2021, the Blues were languishing just above the relegation zone.

Birmingham City acted quickly and replaced Karanka with Lee Bowyer in March. The former Leeds United player helped the English club avoid relegation to League One as the club finished this campaign in 18th spot.

The former Middlesbrough manager has now expressed his happiness over Birmingham’s continuity in the second tier of English football.

“A lot. What hurts me the most in these 7-8 months at Birmingham is not being able to interact with people. I have been used to public pressure since my time as a player and I have missed it,” Karanka told Marca when asked if the club saving themselves made him happy.

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Birmingham haven’t finished above 10th spot since they secured a fourth placed finish in the 2012/13 season, a year after they were relegated from the Premier League.

Karanka believes the club’s recent record and lack of investment last summer made it difficult for him at St Andrew’s.

“I started with great enthusiasm, but it did not end as expected. The CEO loved me three years ago,” Karanka explained. 

“Then I felt that this was not the time. It was a shame. The situation we live in and the inertia of the club in recent years has led to the experience not being as satisfactory as I thought when I arrived.

“I hadn’t trained for 19 months and it has helped me a lot. I have enjoyed and learned a lot. I had to create a template without much money and find answers to solve the problems that arose.”