Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka believes his side paid the price for a drop in intensity after Norwich City ended the Reds’ unbeaten home record on Saturday with a 2-1 victory.
Forest started brightly and took the lead in just the fifth minute as Lewis Grabban volleyed home from inside the area but the Canaries soon started to grow into proceedings and two Timm Klose goals in the second half gave them a deserved victory.
Speaking post-match, Karanka claimed his side need to maintain their intensity for entire games to start killing teams off.
“We need to play as a team for 95 minutes,” said the former Real Madrid assistant manager.
“When we play as we did in the first 20 minutes, we will always cause teams problems but we cannot just drop our intensity levels.
“We started the game really well, we scored the goal and hit the crossbar but sadly then we went down. We started to lose our intensity and Norwich played really well for the remainder of the game.
“I said to the players at half-time that we had to go for the second goal because we couldn’t just sit and defend for the whole second half.
“But we could not find our intensity in the second half. We needed to keep going, we need to finish games better than we did today.
“We finished the game disorganised and they could have scored a third or a fourth.”
A sell-out crowd of over 29,000 were at the City Ground for Saturday’s game and though the fans turned out in numbers, Karanka believes the Forest faithful can do more to help his team to victory.
“I understand the crowd is demanding but sometimes the atmosphere is a lot of pressure for them. Every single ball that we lose or every single ball that goes out, you can feel the pressure from the stadium.
“We need to try and keep calm and to support the players because in those bad moments, they need their support.
“It’s really nice to have 29,000 people here but in those bad moments, the players need more.
One moment which seemed to aggrieve the Forest fans was the substitution of the in-form Joe Lolley but after the game, Karanka claimed his decision was justified.
“He has played well in the last six weeks, but not today. I need to think about every single minute, in every game.
“You could feel on the pitch that Joe was not the same as he was two or three weeks ago. He was a completely different player.
“I don’t know if he was tired but he was not playing his best and we decided to take him off.”