Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor has admitted the East Midlands side’s current players and former manager Chris Hughton were a mismatch before his dismissal last month, speaking candidly in an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham.
The 62-year-old was sacked by the Championship club in the middle of September following their 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough, having won none, drawn one and lost six of their opening seven league matches, securing their only competitive win of the campaign under his stewardship in August with a narrow 2-1 victory over Bradford City.
This poor form followed on from an underwhelming 2020/21 campaign, with Hughton taking over just four games into the season and managing to steer Forest away from danger, although they still finished in an underwhelming 17th place.
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Their finish was largely due to a misfiring front line, having the joint-second worst attacking record in the Championship last term and enduring a poor start to this year’s summer window.
Although a lack of movement in the transfer market affected several teams across the EFL during the early stages of the summer, their lack of recruitment was particularly poor as they were only able to sign backup goalkeeper Ethan Horvath (permanent) and Watford’s Philip Zinckernagel on a temporary loan spell before their opening game of the season against Coventry City.
This was reflected on the pitch, ultimately leading to Hughton’s sacking with the 62-year-old failing to get the best out of the players at his disposal.
“Everything has been flipped on its head and that’s not to be disparaging towards the old manager because I would never want to do that, he is obviously a very good football manager, his achievements before he came to the club lay before him.
“I think it would be wrong to say that he’s anything but a very good football manager, it just didn’t quite work with the set of players at the club with the manager.”
These comments from Lyle Taylor hit the nail on the head.
Hughton is obviously a good manager and it especially showed when he was able to get Brighton and Hove Albion up to the Premier League and keep them there for a number of years. That is an achievement that probably isn’t spoken enough about.
But it was clear there was a difference in direction between the former Forest manager and the club’s board with their recruitment – and the delay in bringing these players in proved to be costly in itself.
This is why many people would feel sorry for him due to the situation he was placed in with only two signings in the door before their opening game of the season – but it was clear he needed to get more out of his players than he managed to and this was partly why the two parties needed to go their separate ways.
Steve Cooper seems to fit the ‘head coach’ role a lot better and you can tell his players are benefitting hugely from their change of system and formation, so things have worked out for the better and are likely to show huge improvements from their time under Hughton, even when Cooper’s ‘honeymoon period’ is over.