Chris Hughton has defended his decision to use Ryan Yates in a central midfield partnership with Jack Colback, but understands fans’ criticism of the pairing.
Yates and Colback have been Hughton’s preferred midfield partnership since the beginning of pre-season, and the pair have started alongside each other in the Reds’ first two league games against Coventry and Bournemouth.
Forest have fallen to two defeats in those games, and failed to capitalise on having an extra-man advantage for the final half-hour in their 2-1 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Despite having an extra man on the pitch, Hughton kept Yates and Colback on the pitch, with many fans crying out for more attack-minded midfielders to take to the field.
Yates and Colback are both billed as defensive midfielders, which has led to criticism from fans and left them wanting to see more creativity in the middle of the park.
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Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Hughton says he understands fans wanting to see more inspiration in midfield, but defended his decision to stick by Yates and Colback.
He said “I understand what some might think. Some might think they are more defensive type players than offensive.
“It’s a balance for what we’ve got. Jack is a left-sided player, so it gives us a nice balance. They are part of a midfield group that we have at the moment that gives us options, but we would like more options in there.
“Tyrese (Fornah) did well in the cup, but he’s still very much a developing player. Cafu gives us something a little bit different. We used him in a two at times last season. Probably we see him more as an advanced player, as a No.10.
“But with what we’ve got at the moment, we are always trying to use our wide players very much offensively. Brennan Johnson is more of an offensive player than a link player. So in effect you’ve got four forward players – your two wide players and Brennan, who plays high up.
“You just need that consistency of two in midfield who are going to supply, but who are also going to help the back four not concede goals. It’s trying to get the right balance.”
I’m not entirely convinced that Yates and Colback would be Hughton’s first-choice partnership if someone like James Garner returned to the City Ground on loan.
The pair are very much much of a muchness, and for me, they need someone like Cafu in there who is more progressive and forward-thinking.
Whilst Yates and Colback offer defensive ability, they didn’t cut the passing lanes too well against Bournemouth which was disappointing.