Nottingham Forest blog: Dougie Freedman is getting the best out of the players

Blackpool's Andrea Orlandi scores his side's second goal against Forest
Blackpool's Andrea Orlandi scores his side's second goal against Forest

If any team is capable of shipping four goals against a hapless Blackpool side then it was bound to be the soap opera that can be Nottingham Forest.

I mustn’t be too harsh however as we did score four in reply during a pulsating Championship encounter to earn a share of the spoils from the eight-goal thriller.

Freedman has been in the City Ground hot-seat a fortnight now and in the three games we have played under his guidance we have scored 10 goals and secured seven points for our efforts.

I certainly hadn’t expected the new boss to come in and instantly start getting the best out of a group of very good players but it would appear he has.

Admittedly we have shipped six goals during the trio of fixtures he has thus far overseen and this is something that the former Forest forward is determined to sort out.

He said: ‘I can tell you one thing the lack of concentration at the end will not happen again. It is something I will work on day and night on the training ground to ensure that the players do not let that happen again.’

I thought it was refreshing to hear the new manager come out and say such a thing. No excuses, no blaming of officials, no resent on playing surfaces, just a sheer desire to make sure that his Forest side learn from this and become better players for it. It has become all too common these days for managers to come out and blame anything but the performance or the players, and in fairness to Stuart Pearce he was never one to lie the blame with others either.

People could say that not a lot has changed since the Pearce regime but you only have to watch the players on the pitch to understand that a whole lot has in fact changed.

The players now play and understand a formation, each player walks onto the pitch knowing exactly what their role is and what they have to achieve for the team during the 90 minutes.

Also the players appear to be smiling again. Arguably this is down to the fact that they are now playing in positions that they are comfortable in and not being asked to undertake roles that are unorthodox to them and naturally they are playing better football for it.

The injury to Britt Assombalonga is a tough one to take. We never seem to get minor injury problems to key players and it really is a case of when it rains it pours on that front with the Reds which is obviously a shame.

That said, the opportunity is now there for someone else to step up and take up the mantle of number one striker which could be an interesting battle.

Trying to be positive again about the whole situation, out of the 10 goals the Reds have amassed under Freedman, Britt has only netted one of them so hopefully his loss won’t be too costly in the short-term.

I feel the need also to Chris Burke. Since the change in management the former Birmingham winger has found himself back in the team and back doing what he does best – scoring and creating goals.

Burke isn’t a fashionable footballer but is a handful for any defence in the league on his day and his presence in the side has often been underestimated by some of the Forest faithful.

His form at present is reminiscent of his Birmingham form last season and how he wasn’t getting a game at the back end of the Pearce era is beyond me.

A lot of fans who sit near me at games bang the drum about Jamie Paterson being a much better option that Burke. Quite simply they are wrong.

Paterson is still being judged on his form from the back end of last season which meant that due to injuries he was forced to play most weeks.

We now have better options available to us and although I think Paterson will turn into a fine player in the future, he is still very raw and gets lost in a lot of matches. Not only that but watch Chris Burke when he loses the ball, straight back down his flank to try and win it back – Paterson simply doesn’t bring that element to the team.

I don’t buy this whole argument that Paterson hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip. When he has played this season he has come up short in terms of the performance levels expected.

Burke is a veteran of over 250 Championship games and he is just the player Forest need at the moment. It is about time he started getting the recognition from our fans that he deserves.

Saturday’s game at home to Bolton Wanderers will be a really big test for the Reds seemingly fragile defence as Bolton play very much on the back foot and look to hit teams on the counter.

In Adam Le Fondre and Zach Clough they have two players who can really hurt defences and hopefully after a full week on the training ground the Forest back-line will be ready for the threat that they will face from Neil Lennon’s men.

If we continue to try and play to attack teams as we did against Wigan last Wednesday night, I don’t think it will be too long before we see the City Ground become something of a fortress once more. One step at a time though eh?

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