Nottingham Forest fell to yet another defeat in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday night, losing 2-1 to Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Chris Hughton will have been urging his side to return to winning ways last night, having gone into the clash on the back of four defeats in their last five games.
But the Reds were unable to respond, and fell to their 10th defeat of the season as Norwich returned to the top of the Championship.
On the stroke of half-time, an individual error from Yuri Ribeiro and then Brice Samba led to Jacob Sorensen converting from close-range.
Anthony Knockaert equalised on 73 minutes, scoring Forest’s first goal in six games as a cross-cum-shot nestled its way into the bottom corner.
But Norwich were to respond almost immediately, with Emi Buendia’s deflected effort wrong-footing Samba and finding the back of the net.
Here, we take a look at three things we learnt about Forest following last night’s defeat at Carrow Road – a result that leaves them sitting only one point above the relegation zone.
Old habits hard to shake
When you’re embarking on a bad run of form like Forest very much are, everything seems to go against you in football.
On any other day, Brice Samba comes out to collect Michael Olise’s cross with ease on Saturday. Instead, Tom Holmes beats him to it, and Forest have to play the best part of 70 minutes with 10 men after Ryan Yates is sent off for deliberately handing the ball on the line.
Individual errors, lapses in concentration, and overall bad luck proved costly for Forest once again on Wednesday night.
On the stroke of half-time, Yuri Ribeiro headed a clearance right into the path of Jacob Sorensen rather than clearing the ball well away from danger.
Sorensen’s volley then found its way underneath Brice Samba and into the bottom corner – a very poor goal to give away, especially when the chips have been down for a number of weeks.
Then, after finding an unlikely equaliser through Anthony Knockaert, Emi Buendia’s strike from the edge of the area deflected off Joe Worrall and into the bottom corner after completely wrong-footing Samba. How’s your luck?
Anthony Knockaert the difference
Just as he did in the 2-0 away defeat to AFC Bournemouth a fortnight ago, Anthony Knockaert was brought on in the second-half, tasked with galvanising Forest’s attack and adding a creative spark.
Like he did against Bournemouth, the winger helped lift Forest and made them a lot more threatening going forward.
He was to make an almost immediate impact, too. Two minutes after coming on, his teasing run was met with a dangerous, in-swinging cross which found the net and gave Forest hope.
That hope wasn’t there for long following Buendia’s effort, but nobody can fault the contribution and the impact Knockaert made last night.
With January fast approaching, Knockaert’s future is a topic that has being discussed more and more as days go by. The Reds have an option to buy him from Fulham, and if he keeps on making this sort of impact, then his stock is going to rise.
Given how Forest have struggled this season, the notion among fans is that the squad needs to be strengthened in January in order to help them get out of this mess.
With 14 new players arriving over the course of a hectic summer transfer window, though, could this really be the answer?
With so many players on the books, it’s hard to note down where exactly Forest need to strengthen, especially given the fact that some of those new arrivals are still yet to even feature in a Forest shirt, let alone under Chris Hughton.
Hughton recognises this, and admitted in his post-match press conference that there will not be any wholesale changes given the sheer volume of players who joined in the summer.
They possess quality out wide in the likes of Anthony Knockaert and Joe Lolley. Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna are a more than reliable defensive pairing. There’s plenty of depth to choose from in midfield.
Adding more fuel to the fire perhaps isn’t the solution. Building team cohesion and understanding with one another, is.