I gave myself an extra day to ruminate and think about yesterdays defeat at home to derby, than to simply put down what I thought yesterday. The truth is an extra 24 hours later and I am still nonplussed by this years Forest team.
What should have been a win, and against 10 men for so long, therefore easier, turned out to be a lower low than before. If we felt down and disheartened before this game,it will have done nothing to dispel fans misgivings. Defensively awful,and extremely naive, we failed to capitalise on a grand chance to prove to everyone that we are a good team.
Whether its the manage, a general feeling of malaise,or that the players are simply not as good as we thought is unclear. That fans by and large are equally divided in opinion on this matter. A lot of anger has been bought out against McClaren, but then a lot of people sympathise with a manager who seems vexed by what he has inherited. Of course a lot of tweets and texts to Radio Nottingham asked for a return of Billy.
And of course Davies must be sat there with a wry smile on his face. It seems that Davies is a manager who got the best out of a group of players, which McClaren cannot match. Did Billy have the players believing in themselves more? DO the players not have the drive or determination to play for McClaren? It is unclear. McClaren post match seemed confused. Unsure how to solve this crisis, other than hard work. But hard work must surely have been going on anyway. Do the players not believe in McClarens vision? Do the players not get the same drive? Or is there something else at play?
Yesterday of course started so well, Fielding being sent off right at the start for fouling Miller. Penalty and Derby reduced to 10 men, could there be a better start? Well yes, that penalty was duly dispatched by Andy Reid. Dreamland.
But let us not forget that we often never capitalise on 10 men. Many pointed to the Swansea match last season, but on many occasion I can recall struggling against 10men. Its an old footballing cliche that Forest seem hellbent on proving correct.
Derby's equaliser was naive and stupid. Jamie Ward scored, but the problems came before the finish. We simply stopped playing when a player went down. Ok it was unsporting, but the more I think about it, the more I would have implored Forest to do the same, to think otherwise would be biased. Of course I'd gleefully accept a goal. Cohen being down and ultimately out, Derby had no obligation to put the ball out,and the ref didn't have to stop the game as it was not a head injury. When Ward received the ball out wide he still had a lot to do. He did it all with relative ease, which should have never been allowed to happen. Ward didn;t help himself by celebrating as he did. I disliked him at Sheffield United, a gobby arrogant snide player. He showed that.
From that moment we never looked much cop. Lynch replaced Cohen at left back and ultimately it was his poor positioning and slowness cost us. Derby before they scored had of course missed an absolute sitter. Hendrick missing a free header at the back post from 2 yards, after Lynch had simply let his man go. The goal came not long later when that same man netted easily from range,unchallenged. Ironic because that is perhaps where Jonathan Greening would have been positioned had he not been replaced with an extra striker chasing that win. That is conjecture of course, theres no way of knowing that for sure, but it is probable.
To be fair Derby might have deserved that. They looked more threatening going forward, with our formerly watertight defence proving anything but that anymore. We forced a couple of efforts, Lynch with a shot saved, and a header on target but into Morgans back.
Truth be told, to get back into this game may have disguised the obvious flaws in this performance. Another backs to the wall draw salvaged out of nothing would not tell the full story. I'm not saying I am glad we lost, far from it, but maybe something like this will finally reveal the glaring problems and help us solve them.
McClarens reign so far reminds me somewhat of Roy Hodgsons unsuccessful tenure at Liverpool last season. A talented squad, inherited from a popular manager who came close but couldn't get his team over the line, and a manager with success, with a lot a lot to prove and ultimately it being an unhappy marraiage. I hope it doesnt end the sameway.