The Chris Hughton interview from Talksport

Chris Hughton’s first interview as the new Nottingham Forest manager was with Jim White on Talksport this morning, where he talked about his plans for the job

Did this come into the dream job category for you?

I’m certainly of an age and been around the game long enough to know the standing of a club like Nottingham Forest. And you know, certainly once there was that opportunity to become manager here it was something that I instantly thought was a really good job for me. So no, really, really pleased and happy to be here.

You know, I’m with you on that Chris. I think because of our age, I immediately think of the likes of Brian Clough, Archie Gemmill, John McGovern. The list goes on and on. This is a special club, Chris, isn’t it?

It’s a special club. But also, apart from those wonderful years, because I’ve continued to be involved in the game I’ve gone through a lot of the eras. I have played against the club as a player. And then, of course, having managed against the club as a manager. So this is not a club that I remember the history and then we are here now. There’s been a process along which I’ve been involved in and I’ve seen the progress the club have made over a period of time.

You’ve had a few big jobs in your time. But I wonder if this one’s the biggest one?

Possibly. I think with the timing. I mean, of course, having been brought in, I think there’s always a reason and it’s been a difficult start to the season and, of course, a very difficult end to last season. And first and foremost, it’s about making sure that we get enough good results. And it’s certainly in at the deep end with seven games in 22 days. But yes, it’s a big job. I see it as a big responsibility and I’m really up for this challenge.

And, you know, it’s a big challenge. I mean, we can talk about Forest in the past, Chris, but right now played four, lost four. So there’s a lot to do.

Yes, there is. And first and foremost, that’s the most important thing, making sure that we can get some points on the board, get a little bit of confidence in the team. You know what I do have to remember, Jim, and I think most probably do, is last season apart from a period of time, you know, overall was a good season. And probably if I’m looking at expectations, I think some perhaps didn’t expect them to have as good a season for part of that season as they did last season. So it’s there, but it’s obviously them getting back their confidence levels. And we know in the game, Jim, so much can be about confidence and getting into a rhythm. And we have to try and do it fairly quickly.

I’m sure you have spoken directly with the owner, Evangelos Marinakis. There’s a domestic window still on the go at the moment. Chris, would you hope to do any business?

Yes, I think it’s my responsibility to go through the squad. You know, probably unfortunately, there’s only a short period of time and I’ll have to try and make as many assessments as possible. What I would like to do is that by the time the window closes is to have, you know, close to the best balance of squad that I can get. I don’t see a lot of changes, but, yes, any opportunity that we have of having the best squad that we can before the window closes, we will certainly look to capitalise on.

I mean, they just missed the play-offs last season, Chris, it petered out for them in the end. And I think that began to spell the beginning of the end for Lamouchi. Obviously, that has to be the target, at least the play-offs.

Yes. And, you know, I’m realistic enough to know the reason why I was brought in. We, as I said, for the last part of last season, it was a good season and the team were in very good form. So it’s there, you know, it’s there within them. But first and foremost we need to get some points on the board and get some confidence in the team. But ultimately, for a club of this standing, it’s about getting into the Premier League in whichever way, and my process starts now.

At least you’ve got this international break, Chris, you can get your feet under the desk and get a feel of the place.

Yeah, I think that’s been a Godsend, I’d have to say, because as I said after that, we play seven games in 22 days. So it’s going to be a really hectic time as regards preparation, playing and, of course, recovery. So, yes, I’ll use this international break well. What I am getting to terms with, of course, is the Covid situation now at clubs. And of course, because I’ve not been involved for a little while, some of this is new to me, but I’m learning very quickly around the regulations and what we have to do. And it’s a job that I need to get my teeth into very quickly.

You know, that’s such a good point you make, Chris, because you’ve seen what’s been going on with Gareth Southgate in England this week and then Steve Clarke and Scotland’s got a similar headache and they play tonight. I mean, you have to be so vigilant day in, day out, regards Covid.

Well, I think you have to be so vigilant. But I think what we are finding and I’m quite sure that some of those individual players that have been tested positive have been trying the best they can to do everything right. So, you know, it just goes to show that it can happen to anybody and in any circumstances. And, of course, testing is so important. But I think this is going to be an issue that’s obviously not going to go away for quite some time. And I think it’s going to affect a lot of clubs and a lot of individuals.

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