Chris Hughton has urged his Nottingham Forest side to produce an improved defensive display when they take on Stoke City this weekend, following the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Wednesday night.
Forest were guilty of producing arguably their most lacklustre performance of the season so far against Birmingham, on a night where they failed to possess any real quality in the final third and where the hosts also made it a difficult contest from a physical aspect.
Lukas Jutkiewicz offered plenty of physical prowess whilst leading the line, and both Harlee Dean and Marc Roberts showed real aerial threat when having two golden opportunities from corners. The latter headed Blues into a 1-0 lead right after the interval, but Lewis Grabban stepped up in the 98th minute to salvage a late point from the penalty spot.
Forest will now look to return to winning ways as they prepare to host Stoke City this Saturday, where they are likely to come up against a side hurting after going winless in their last four games. When asked about his side’s defensive display against Blues, Hughton picked out an area for improvement against the Potters.
He told Football League World: “We didn’t defend well enough.
“For the volume of what they put into the box, I think there is a good percentage that we coped with well. But in those type of games and in those type of scenarios, you have got to cope with an even bigger percentage.
“The game was a direct one to deal with, Brice had to make a couple of good saves. The goal we conceded has come from a set-play, so from that side of the game, there are moments where we didn’t do well enough.
“(Lukas) Jutkiewicz had a couple of efforts at goal, and it was the same player who we conceded to (Roberts) who had another good effort at goal from a set-play.
“Probably overall, we dealt with a good percentage of their threat, but not enough, because they capitalised from it.”
As alluded to before, Forest were handed a very late lifeline last night, when deep into stoppage time, Jutkiewicz was adjudged to have fouled Scott McKenna who struck a header goalwards amid a scrambled goalmouth.
Lee Bowyer let rip at the officials after the game, but Hughton offered his own take, saying: “Courtesy of our media team, I’ve seen a few angles from it, and for me, it’s a penalty.
“What I’d probably say in Lee Bowyer’s defence, though, is that that scenario happens in games, and other referees might not have given it.
“But technically, for me, it’s a penalty.”