Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka: “It’s a big challenge for me, but I think it’s a good challenge for the football club too because after seven years the club is in the Premier League, it is on the Premier League map and for that reason everybody is going to watch Middlesbrough playing every Saturday.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes on West Brom striker Saido Berahino: “He is an outstanding young talent but you need a lot of boxes ticked and all the ducks in a row before any deal happens. At the moment that is not where we are.
“Our intention is to carry on bringing good players to the club and we are in the mix for a number. But this year it was never about wholesale changes. It was more about adding good quality to the quality we already had.”
Middlesbrough have won four of their last 15 league games against Stoke City (D3, L8).
The only previous Premier League encounters came in the 2008-09 season. Boro won 2-1 in August 2008 thanks to goals from Afonso Alves and Tuncay, while a Ryan Shawcross strike gave the Potters a 1-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium in March 2009.
Middlesbrough conceded 31 goals in last season’s Championship, including just eight at home – both figures were the lowest in the second tier.
Boro have won their first Premier League game just twice in 14 seasons.
However, they did win their opening match in their last Premier League campaign, beating Tottenham 2-1 in 2008.
Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo scored eight goals in his first 17 Premier League appearances for Manchester City in 2013-14 but netted just once in his subsequent 15 games.
Stoke have conceded 36 Premier League goals in 2016 – more than any other side currently in the top flight.
The Potters are winless in their last six Premier League games on the opening weekend, losing four of those matches.
Their only previous win on the opening weekend of a Premier League season came against Burnley in 2009.
Mark Hughes has lost just one of his last eight Premier League meetings with Middlesbrough as manager, winning six of those games.
Stoke have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League away games.