Despite 10 changes for Forest, on paper it looked a decent enough side — second-string players maybe, but the likes of Carl Jenkinson, Gaëtan Bong, Luke Freeman and Anthony Knockaert have all played in the Premier League; Bong, Tobias Figueiredo and Fouad Bachirou have all played in the Champions League.
But herein lies the problem with Forest’s recruitment. More than 70 players signed since 2017, and very few of them a success. Continually signing players on high wages with no particular plan, is not how a well-run club operates. To be fair to Freeman and Bachirou, it was their first game back from injury, and they at least appeared to be making an effort in the first-half.
But for those first 45 minutes the performance — if you can call it that — was passive, lethargic, disinterested and lacking passion. I’ve no doubt Chris Hughton will turn things around eventually, but what we have here is an almighty mess that has been caused by mistake after mistake after mistake.
Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough was one thing — after a seven-game unbeaten run — but to follow up with this is almost beyond comprehension. Almost. We seemed to have no obvious gameplan, no idea what to do with the ball, and little interest in doing some of the basics.
You can blame the players for today. You can also very much blame referee Kevin Friend, who gifted Swansea with the penalty for their third goal. Hughton and the First XI can redeem themselves next Saturday against Barnsley. But it does leave you wondering how we get out of this mess.
The real blame goes all the way to the top. Sabri Lamouchi’s success (until March at least) masked many of the problems at the club. They are now staring us in the face. We narrowly avoided relegation before the takeover by Evangelos Marinakis, and we’re now fighting it again. Progress?
We have a nucleus of young talent for the future – Scott McKenna, Loic Mbe Soh, Alex Mighten and Brennan Johnson to name a few — and despite the disappointment this week, there are several players still worthy of wearing the Garibaldi. Confidence and coaching will go a long way. But there is a lot to be done to fix the club. We can only hope the season doesn’t get any worse.