I held back my thoughts on Saturday’s emphatic victory over Bolton Wanderers as I felt any praise I gave out to anyone would put a jinx on the recipient going into Wednesday’s clash with high-flyers Bournemouth.
Thankfully I bided my time and I can now say what a fantastic spectacle we witnessed at the City Ground last night.
Yes, at times it was hard to watch Bournemouth ‘pop’ it around, as Forest midfielder Ben Osborn accurately summed it up after the game, but to grind out a victory over a team of that ilk is no mean feat.
One of the big things for me was the confidence factor which is oozing through the team at the moment.
Andy Surman curled a superb effort into the corner of the Forest net after a mere two minutes last night and had that happened six weeks ago the team would most certainly have collapsed.
Instead Jamaal Lascelles stormed into the back of the net, picked out the ball and punted up field for the restart as if to say ‘right, you’re not having another!’
Indeed it was the central defender who restored parity some 15 minutes later with a volley which rocketed past the helpless Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal.
From that point on there only looked like one team who would go on and win the game and Henri Lansbury’s curling free-kick just before the interval proved to be the match-winner, maintaining Freedman’s unbeaten start.
Not pretty by any means, and we didn’t see a great deal of the ball, but one thing it did say was that the team are developing different ways of winning matches.
Not only can we provide the forceful attacking football full of skill and flair but we are also capable of soaking up some pressure and hitting teams on the counter.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe said after the game that he was baffled that his side didn’t win the game due to the amount of possession they had.
Unfortunately, Eddie possession doesn’t win games of football.
Take nothing away from last night’s visitors they are very easy on the eye in terms of zipping the ball about the pitch but at times they don’t really have any direction.
At one point they must have put 20 passes together without actually getting inside the 18-yard-box, and the fact Callum Wilson barely had a shot on goal all night told a story in itself.
If you look at the match statistics from last night they will tell you that Bournemouth had 75% possession yet only had three shots on target during the whole game, whilst the Reds despite being restricted to 25% possession managed seven shots which hit the target, so really it isn’t difficult to see where Eddie Howe’s side have a problem.
All three of Bournemouth’s shots on target came inside the first 15 minutes of the game too. Are a side that fails to have a shot on target for 75 minutes really worthy winners of a football match?
Forest showed a real resilience about them last night and it made me really proud to see the players roll their sleeves up, dig in and grind out a superb three points.
One masterstroke from Freedman since his arrival has been passing the armband to Henri Lansbury.
Admittedly Freedman’s hand has been forced after losing regular skipper Jack Hobbs to injury but Lansbury has all the attributes you would look for in a captain.
He is a real leader and runs around on the pitch as though his life depends upon pulling on the red of Nottingham Forest. His attitude is that if someone plonked a great big brick wall in the middle of the pitch, it wouldn’t matter to Lansbury because he would probably run through it anyway, such is his persona.
Some people have given the 24-year-old a hard time this season for some below-par performances, citing that his head had been turned amidst interest from Burnley in the summer.
The key factor is that Lansbury is now playing in his more natural roaming central midfield position giving him the license to get forward and score more goals which is what he clearly loves doing.
I believe that a Henri Lansbury played in his most natural position is the best player in the Championship and I pull no punches when I say I wouldn’t swap him for any other player at another club in the league – I really do rate him that highly.
His passion and desire to play for the club is unrivalled and it is great to see him back amongst the goals.
One criticism of Lansbury is that he failed to net first last night – odds of 9/1 seemed hard to resist, but then I guess the bookies saw me coming!