There were few Nottingham Forest players who put in a performance to be proud of in Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa and Joao Carvalho wasn’t one of them. As predicted, the 22-year-old returned to the starting lineup after impressing from the bench in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Hull City, but he struggled to make a similar impact at the City Ground.
Carvalho has been short of playing time under Martin O’Neill, making only five Championship appearances since New Year’s Day and contributing only one goal and assist since November. The Portuguese u21 international joined Forest for £13m from Benfica last summer and has flattered to deceive in his debut season.
Against Villa, the midfielder made 51 touches, 33 passes with 82% accuracy, three chances, four successful dribbles and one tackle. Carvalho failed to register a shot on target, gave away three fouls and produced only one accurate cross. Supporters weren’t pleased with his overall performance and took to social media to express their frustration.
What's happening with Carvalho..
Poor performance again#NFFC
— Ant Lord (@antlord46) March 13, 2019
Carvalho’s inability to keep the ball is why he isn’t a regular starter. Not alone as a poor performer tonight but fully understand why he doesn’t start regularly in this system. #nffc
— Stephen Muldoon (@Muldoon1990) March 13, 2019
#nffc Carvalho is awful, who scouted him? He has no awareness, no defensive skills don't like getting in challenges. He can't pass either! He's not suitable for Championship. Record transfer & expensive flop.
— Richie (@MaxxPow3r) March 13, 2019
Delusion if you think Carvalho is a game winner #NFFC
— jadk (@jadk0) March 13, 2019
Just hasn't been our night. 3 poor goals conceded and not enough at the other end. Lolley off his game, Carvalho poor. Move on to Saturday, must win game or playoffs are over #nffc
— Jonno Reilly (@Jonno_Reilly) March 13, 2019
Carvalho pretty much proved tonight why he hasn’t been starting #NFFC
— Ryan (@Loftyy93) March 13, 2019
Just got home. Disappointing performance that. No one did themselves any favours tonight. Two main thoughts. 1. Still think Pantilimon is a poor keeper. 2. Carvalho isn't ready to be the main playmaker for a team trying to get promoted. We are far from being ready. #nffc
— YouAreMyForest (@YouAreMyForest) March 13, 2019
The 22-year-old has made 31 league appearances this season, scoring and creating 10 goals. He made his first start in two months on Wednesday, but his place could be at risk ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Middlesbrough. Forest have lost two of their last three games so they can’t afford any more slip-ups in their pursuit of a playoff place.