Cape Town - Aitor Karanka says he never doubted the ability of goalkeeper Victor Valdes after a difficult start to life at Premier League club Middlesbrough.
One of the most decorated keepers in European history as an integral part of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team, Valdes' career has taken a downward spiral since leaving the Camp Nou.
After a failed spell at Manchester United and a short loan stint to Standard Liege, Karanka snapped up the 34-year-old on a free transfer during the off season.
The Spaniard's performances early in the campaign brought up questions whether he was good enough for the English top flight, but in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City, he produced a remarkable display against his former boss.
"I had no doubt in him, even during the worst moments," Karanka told BBC Tees of his compatriot.
"I knew he was a brilliant player, who has had difficult moments in his (Boro) career and life and now he's playing at his best.
"He's brilliant on the pitch and in the changing room as well. Saves like those are the reason he is here."