OPINION: Defence has stopped Nottingham Forest from being relegated
After losing to Derby at the weekend, it's clear to see that without the efforts of our defenders we'd be relegated by now.
I’m not going to lay into our team selection or tactics following this defeat because as a club we couldn’t have done things too differently.
The better side won and the fact that we had just one effort on target in the whole match tells you all you need to know.
Forest never looked like scoring but we’ve been saying that all season, so I think it’s time we gave the defence a pat on the back.
Secretly those guys must be going out every week thinking “I’m going to earn my money again today.”
The heroics of Matt Mills and Michael Mancienne in particular were nearly enough to earn us a draw on Saturday but you can’t defend for ninety minutes.
Despite having very little to choose from in an attacking sense I was annoyed at the attitude of the forwards.
It shows a sheer lack of respect for your team mates when you continuously lose possession and give the ball away on the cheap.
Had I have been Matt mills, I would have been fuming to watch Mendes squander possession every time I’d broken my back to earn it for him. Macheda also failed to make the ball stick but he’s clearly not match fit and even Osborn struggled to play the percentages.
As I said earlier, it’s not down to selection because Paul Williams had to work with the bare bones, just like Dougie Freedman.
I was impressed with his midfield trio of Vaughan, Cohen and Gardner; it sent out the right message.
I did question the nature of his substitutions but I don’t believe it would have prevented the inevitable. It’s probably just as worrying for Derby that they were so insipid, they should be performing far better than that with such a healthy squad from which to pick.
When the Rams finally broke through our defence it was courtesy of some good neat football, Marcus Olsson’s excellent finish was a worthy match winner.
He is a player who I really admired during his Blackburn days and a reminder of how healthy Derby’s squad is.
Our foes down the A52 take great pride at mocking our Chairman and the current embargo but they must tread carefully. I see that Harry Redknapp has wormed his way into a “Football Adviser’s role at the I Pro, so get ready for an embargo of your own.
Seriously; Derby have spent nearly thirty million pounds this season and failure to get promotion could possibly see them breach FFP limits. With Mr Redknapp on board I can only see them spending more!
A minority of Forest fans looked to lay blame on Eric Lichaj for the goal we conceded but as I mentioned from the outset, the buck stops with the forwards. Sometimes you have to come out of your comfort zone and do things differently.
By this I mean that the likes of Mendes and Macheda should have been looking to play for corners and set pieces.
Yes it’s very negative and unattractive but it would have allowed the defence some respite and gained a few yards up the field too.
If you know that chances will be few you have to do the ugly things for the sake of your team mates, this is what annoyed me so much on Saturday.
The Derby goal came as a result of losing possession up front; ironically it was young substitute Oliver Burke on that occasion.
However, he’s still learning his trade and it would be wrong to lay blame on him for this.
Things aren’t so good at the moment; well beaten by Derby, under embargo, manager less, injury ravaged and goal shy. Look on the bright side though; we have a fantastic goal keeper and defence that might just keep us in this division.