Tough Times Ahead As Forest Enter Relegation Zone
After eight games in charge for new manager Steve Cotterill, the honeymoon is over. He's chalked up 4 wins and 4 defeats since taking over from Steve McClaren mid way through October and has now seen the two vastly contrasting faces of his Nottingham Forest squad in his short time with the club.
His first match in charge served up a truly battling and workmanlike performance against a Middlesbrough side that were unmercifully put to the sword. The lads played Boro off the park with some inspiring and entertaining football that Tuesday night and deservedly won the match 2-0. Fast forward to the game against Leeds United last night and poor old Steve must be wondering what the hell he's let himself in for. The 4-0 scoreline flattered Forest, who would have been on the end of a proper mullering, if Leeds had been more clinical in front of goal.
Lacklustre, lack of effort, lack of commitment, or just simply off the pace, are some of the words that might go some way to explain the Godawful performance put in by the players last night, but 'couldn't give a shit' is probably closer to the truth. This wasn't a case of players having an off night or bad day at the office, it was purely and simply down to their attitude on the night. Without wanting to take anything away from a deserving win for the visitors, they didn't have to try too hard to bag the three points, especially after having been gift wrapped 3 of the goals, due to individual errors from the home side.
The club now finds itself firmly entrenched in the drop zone, with a relegation battle officially underway. If Nottingham Forest are to retain their place in the Championship this season, then performances such as last nights' will mean they fail. We need players willing to fight for the cause and players who will stand up and be counted. There was precious little of that on show last night unfortunately. Somehow Steve Cotterill needs to rediscover the form and performance levels he eeked out of his troops in his first game in charge (and shown in patches in subsequent games since), if he has a chance of avoiding relegation this term. For that to happen though, he at least needs the players on board and willing to give it a go.
It would be all too easy and ultimately fruitless, to go through the team that failed last night and vilify them one by one. Instead, it might be more beneficial to point to the one and only positive from an otherwise forgettable evening from a Forest perspective. Joel Lynch once again put in a performance worthy of the shirt and was the one and only player to show that he did infact give a shit. The rest of the squad will do well to learn from him, otherwise another disastrous season looms. If the unthinkable should happen, then it will be the fault of the players and not of the manager on the evidence of this performance.