Nottingham Forest once again came unstuck against Cardiff City, but it’ll be an invaluable lesson learned for Sabri Lamouchi regarding the tactics of Championship opposition.
You can say what you like about Cardiff’s game plan, but at the end of the day, they get results. Yes, they frustrate and negate but if every side in the Championship played the same brand of football it’d be very boring.
Some may construe their conduct as unsporting, but I see it as pushing the boundaries. However, would I be happy for Nottingham Forest to adopt such tactics? Not in a million years.
Rather than vent my frustrations with venomous social media posts or become a mercurial tactical analyst, I’m of the ilk that the way in which Cardiff set up will be practicable for Lamouchi going forward. And what better place to right the wrongs of last week than a trip to face Gary Rowett’s Millwall.
Rowett, similarly to Neil Harris, carries the same footballing DNA that’s been indicative of Neil Warnock’s sides throughout the last thirty years. And his deployment of Matt Smith up front gives you a clear indication that he’s not about to go down the tiki-taka route against Forest. At 6 foot 6 inches, Smith will undoubtedly be the aerial target.
Given that Sabri Lamouchi has only been in English football since June it’s fair to say that he’s still learning as far as the British style of opposition is concerned. But I’m certain that he’ll have absorbed much from the defeat to Cardiff and will be tirelessly working at ways to overcome such obstacles.
It’s plausible that Forest will come away from the New Den winless if last week is anything to go by but with January approaching, it’ll be the ideal case study of who to recruit if these sorts of sides are to be humbled.
The likes of Cardiff and Millwall are nothing new and I find them fascinating as opposed to irritating. It’s what makes the game of football so beautiful, the fact that people seriously debated whether the all-conquering Barcelona side, managed by Pep Guardiola, would have beaten Stoke City on a windy Wednesday night in the Potteries says it all.
Such tactics have always been around; Stoke City were famed for their route one game in the noughties, Wimbledon in the nineties and eighties, Bolton in the fifties and perhaps the most famous of them all, Wolverhampton Wanderers in the nineteen thirties. Major Frank Buckley’s side were even banned by the FA from touring Europe because of their poor disciplinary record and physicality.
As for the Bolton side of the fifties, Forest’s FA Cup winning midfielder Johnny Quigley had the following to say about them when he was my very own coach some years ago. Quigley, who passed away in 2004 said “the Bolton back four would volley me to each other whilst the ball was up the other end of the pitch, that’s how rough they were!”
Even the late, great Brian Clough struggled against his route one counterparts; his record as Forest manager against the old Wimbledon side is as follows; Played 18, won 4, drawn 5 and lost 9.
Going forward Forest will have to find a way of outfoxing the long ball merchants but as I said before, I’m confident that Sabri Lamouchi will be on the case as far as tactics and signings are concerned.