New Middlesbrough manager Karanka was Mourinho's assistant coach at Real Madrid. [Reuters]

New Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has explained how Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was the catalyst behind his moved to the north east.

The 40 year old Karanka was Mourinho's assistant coach during his three seasons at Real Madrid.

However, last summer he decided against following the Portuguese tactician to Stamford Bridge in order to carve out his own managerial career.

After being linked with Crystal Palace, he has agreed to sign a two and a half year deal with Middlesbrough and will take charge for the first time for the trip to Leeds United on 23 November.

"I spoke to him [Mourinho] and he recommended me to come here - he too believes in this project," Karanka, who succeeds Tony Mowbray at the Riverside.

"This is a very important day for me and I'm delighted to join a club with such big facilities and support. It is my time, I know I am ready. I've worked for three years with Jose and he was supporting me every day and I learned so much.

Previously, Mourinho had praised Karanka for his job at the Bernabeu: "He was my assistant for three years and I know him very, very well. I think whatever club gets him, in England or in another country, will be a lucky club."

Karanka becomes Middlesbrough's first ever non-British boss. He replaces caretaker boss Mark Venus who took temporary charge for three matches after Mowbray was dismissed after a run of one win in 10 games culminated in defeat to then bottom Barnsley.

Boro, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2009, are currently 16th in the Championship table. Karanka's primary target will be to lead the club back to the top flight.

Chairman Steve Gibson said: "There were 100 applications and it was about finding a first-class coach, regardless of nationality, and I believe we have."