Last night`s 0-0 draw was certainly not the most exciting way to spend a Tuesday night, but we are now beginning to see what a Aitor Karanka team truly looks like.
Stability and consistency are not words you could associate with Forest in recent years, but the Spaniard is slowly but surely transforming the identity of this side into his own image. A stoic, reliable centre half as a player, the Spaniard would have enjoyed the solidity on show at Carrow Road. With the manager now reaching two months in charge, there are a few reasons to be optimistic about the future:
1. Longest spell unbeaten
It shouldn`t really be something to celebrate but the stalemate against Norwich means we are now five matches unbeaten in the league. It is our longest spell without a defeat this campaign.
If we are to be at the right end of the table in the near future, extended unbeaten runs are an absolute must. For too long, inconsistency has put to a stop any momentum we have had, and even though we are likely to see far more draws than under previous managers, it will allow confidence to build. Grinding out results is vital in the Championship, so we should be happy with our new-found grit.
2. Experience and Leadership
The recruitment of players like Costel Pantilimon and Ben Watson were not the most exciting January signings, but along with Lee Tomlin and Jack Colback, they have given the squad a great deal of experience.
Character is all important when you are playing in a league where games come thick and fast. You can`t always rely on your fitness to get through games, and mental strength is a key ingredient to achieving consistent results when the legs maybe tiring. Karanka has brought in resilience and leadership to the team, and it is showing in displays on the pitch.
3. A solid base to work from
Tobias Figueiredo was a signing that many people were unsure of when we loaned him from Sporting Lisbon`s reserves in January. Yet, his unlikely partnership with Danny Fox at the heart of our defence has proved invaluable so far.
The Portuguese has good positioning, a decent amount of speed, and is composed despite having to adapt to the hectic nature of the Championship. Since his introduction to the starting eleven against Burton, we have kept two clean sheets and conceded less than a goal a game during our five-match unbeaten run. Let`s hope his form doesn`t drop over the coming weeks.