Aitor Karanka was on press conference duty on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Premier League match at Stoke City. 

Here's what the Head Coach had to say.

"He's a good example. He's an amazing lad and an amazing professional.

"His character and style - he wants to play every game and improve. 

"Two years ago he was at Huddersfield, fighting to stay in the Championship, and now he is one of our key players in the Premier League.

"He shows how the well team is competing improving a lot."

On squad fitness and availability:

"I think we have everyone except Calum [Chambers].

"Antonio [Barragan] and George [Friend] are training with the team so I hope tomorrow I arrive the pitch to find them again."

On Boro's match against Stoke City on Saturday:

"It is a difficult game, but one thing is they are in a comfortable position and we are fighting to stay in this league. We need to show them from the first minute how much we want the three points. 

"The best way to approach every game forgetting the last but hopefully we won't have the same [injury] problems preparing. I am really positive about this game.

"We did a step forward in the games against West Brom and Everton. I said to them [after Crystal Palace] that the only way to survive is working harder every day and keep believing.

"We will be fighting until the last day."

On Boro's survival hopes:

"I always said it would be tough, and for me, we are in the position I thought we would be.

"With the performances and games we have played, we could have 32 points, but we have 22.

"You have to trust in yourself, and the players trust in themselves - we have to keep working together.

"I think it starts from me as the coach, if I go to the pitch with my head looking at the floor they will be the same. I trust them, they have showed me what we can do."