Before the match at the Pirelli stadium, you would have been hard pressed to find a Forest fan who would have been happy with a 0-0 draw against bottom of the table Burton – but circumstances changed very quickly after we went down to ten men.
We had to play over an hour of the match with their backs against the wall, and they had to work hard to prevent the opposition using their numerical advantage to carve out a win. It was telling that the away support applauded the team off after securing a point. So, what did we learn from the bruising encounter?
1) A solid defensive base is slowly being created
Since the new manager was appointed, we have not seen any real indication of his much-vaunted ability to create a solid defence. We have conceded 10 goals in his seven games in charge so far. The clean sheet against Burton was therefore very welcome indeed, and it seems he may be getting his message over to the players.
We have suffered with problems at both ends of the pitch in recent months, but if a solid defensive base can be created between now and May, it should at least prevent us from sliding towards the relegation places. Hopefully, it will also allow us to build a foundation and focus on scoring more goals to push us up the table instead.
2) One of the manager`s new signings looks the part
Tobias Figueiredo`s inclusion in the starting line up in central defence was forced by Joe Worrall`s injury, and to a lesser extent to Mancienne falling ill. The Portuguese defender however justified his selection with a commanding display alongside Danny Fox.
After Eric Lichaj`s sending off mid-way through the first half, the centre back did not look like he was making his debut in the Championship. Despite Burton delivering several crosses into the box, he stood firm, and was composed despite difficult circumstances.
Adapting to a new club, a new country and new style of football could have been used as excuses if Figueiredo had failed to perform, but he was up to the task. Fox praised the Portuguese`s performance as well, saying he communicated well, dealt with problems and generally took a no-nonsense approach to his first ever game in English football. Impressive.
3) Experience paid dividends
One of the manager`s key aims in the January transfer window was to bring in some experienced heads, who could do a job for us in the Championship. Ben Watson captained the side on his first appearance since his move from Watford. Alongside him was Jack Colback, who at 28 years of age has 178 Premier League games to his name, as well as 82 matches in the second tier.
The pair provided a good defensive screen to support our weakened back line and resist a Burton side desperate to record their first win since New Year`s Day.
In goal, we had another player with a good number of years behind him. Costel Pantilimon has 27 caps for Romania, and at 31 he showed he still has more to offer after making some good saves and commanding his penalty box well on Saturday.