Despite suffering setbacks in their last two Championship matches I still believe Nottingham Forest will make the play-offs, and that more importantly, they know exactly where to improve if they are to be promoted.
The Derby game was a bitter pill to swallow for Sabri Lamouchi and his troops having absolutely dominated the Rams for all but a solitary minute of the contest. Personally, I was elated at the nature of the performance and the tactical awareness of the gaffer on the day. He got everything absolutely spot on, but he cannot be held responsible for individual errors when all’s said and done.
Regarding the mistakes I’m alluding to, sometimes these things happen, it’s how you move forward and learn from them as individuals that matters. Both Joe Worrall and Brice Samba have been outstanding this season, so it annoys me immensely when I see them being vilified on social media, very fickle indeed!
Cast your minds back to the abuse that Wes Morgan faced after the play-off thrashing by Yeovil, the same man went on to lift the Premier League trophy and score a vital goal in the Champions League too.
The Fulham defeat was a non-event, where Forest never seemed to get out of bed. Credit must go to Scott Parker though, as many of the Reds supporters rightly said, he did a Forest on us. In my opinion we lost the midfield battle for once, however, the strength of their bench compared to our own also had a telling effect. They were able to turn to the likes of Anthony Knockaert and Stefan Johansen as opposed to Semedo and Diakhaby for the home side.
Although I’m not João Carvalho’s biggest fan, I too was baffled to see him kept on the bench for the entirety of the game against the Cottagers, whether you’re a fan or not, the game was screaming out for creativity of some sort. Admittedly, there have been games in which he’s entered as a substitute and struggled to impact, but on this occasion it was a no brainer to get him involved for me.
I’m certain that Sabri Lamouchi will address the anomalies that require ironing out for the play-off assault, starting with the blindingly obvious, game management and eradicating stoppage time goals. It’s become so familiar for the supporters that I wouldn’t bet against a fourth official being kidnapped prior to announcing the injury time board.
Also, without patronising our excellent goalkeeper, one would hope that Ian Bennett will be working with Brice Samba regarding crosses. Samba has been outstanding and I’m sure some will construe my comments as patronising, but I assure you they’re not. It’s in reference to a wonderfully worded tweet from former Forest keeper Mark Crossley, @bignorms uploaded the following statement after the Derby equaliser: “Got to punch in a crowded goalmouth in injury time, too many bodies.” From a man who’s been there and done it, it makes absolute sense to all and sundry. Importantly, Crossley didn’t tag Samba or attack his credentials, he just stated the facts. I must reiterate, Brice Samba has been brilliant for us this season, but we can all improve here and there from time to time.
Next stop is Deepdale to face Preston North End, a ground where we’ve performed well without getting the win in the last couple of seasons. There’s work to be done but Sabri Lamouchi has a knack of getting it right, and I’m confident he’ll do that.
*Article provided by Steve Corry (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC the Reds return to action at Preston this weekend with a win very much in sight.