Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho does not expect it to be easy when the Red Devils face Middlesbrough in a Premier League encounter on New Year’s Eve.
Despite United being on a five-match winning streak in all competitions, the Portuguese has admitted he will respect the threat the visitors bring to Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Aitor Karanka-coached outfit have been unpredictable in the league in 2016/17 – Boro have held both Arsenal and Manchester City to away draws, while they have dropped points against lesser opposition.
The Teesiders lost their last match against Burnley 1-0 and are still flirting dangerously with the relegation zone. Nonetheless, Mourinho is taking nothing for granted as he prepares for the clash against Karanka's side – the pair worked together during their time at Real Madrid.
He told the club's official website: "It's a difficult one. Middlesbrough need points as they lost today against Burnley. Aitor Karanka will come here obviously to try and he is a big friend of mine.
"(However), you forget friends in football and he will come here to try to get something from that match. It's one more difficult match."