Following Nottingham Forest’s Derby draw with County at the weekend, manager Aitor Karanka has declared himself pleased with the spirit on show from the players.
With both sides struggling to carve our clear chances across the game, there was no doubting the City Ground played host to a typical hard fought battle and Karanka told the Official Forest Site as he met with the media post game that he had to be pleased with another building block as we now sit six unbeaten.
‘I think in the end it was a fair result from an emotional derby. We didn’t have many chances but we’re building ourselves up as a team and we were extremely competitive against one of the best team in the league.’
Karanka went on to add.
‘We can’t forget that these players have only been together for a month and some of them who hadn’t played much football are now playing three games in a week. The lads are still getting to know each other and we will continue to improve. At the end I thought we looked a little bit afraid to lose the game rather than to go on and win it but the reaction of the crowd showed what they thought of the players’ efforts. They got right behind them throughout the game and that was really pleasing.’
With goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon making a great double save on the day in first half stoppage time, the gaffer knew that deserved praise as it was a key moment for the group but so did our youngsters on show with their own efforts.
‘It was a different atmosphere today because of the opposition but I’m really happy with how the players managed the game. We haven’t had a great deal of time to train this week and prepare as we’d like but at least we have taken something from the game. Today was a great experience for our young players, the likes of Brereton, Cash and Dowell, and it will only help them moving forward in the future. In the end I think they will be better players because of today’s game and the experience they’ve had.’
‘Costel’s double-save was important and he’s been superb for us since he arrived. I knew all about his ability when I signed him and he’s the kind of player who is great in the Championship because he can manage games and help the team.’
Danny Fox was singing from the same hymnsheet and admitting it was a ‘scrap’ he knew it wasn’t going to be anything but, however we stood up to that so we’ll take the positives and the point and move on.
‘It is another point on the board and it extends the run but I think we are disappointed not to take all three. They had some good chances but we were home and we want to win our home games as much as we can. It was a scrap but if it wasn’t then there would be questions asked with it being a local derby. They are doing well in the league at the minute and every Forest fan and player wants to beat them every time we play them and we wanted to do that today, but we take the positives from the game.’
Echoing Karanka once more in terms of the game being a building block, he added.
‘We are getting stronger and stronger with every game and the gaffer is instilling into us his methods and it is paying off on the pitch. We are a lot more solid through the spine of the team. The lads that were here before did well but the gaffer has brought in his own players and his own philosophy and we are all responding, whether we have been here for three or four years, like myself, or three or four weeks. We are all responding to the way he wants us to play and that can only be a good sign going into the last nine games of the season. Hopefully we can go into next season positively, add a few more faces and build from there.’
Onto Sheffield United.