Klug: Players Didn't Deserve Kick in the Teeth
Saturday, 14th Apr 2018 18:17
Caretaker-manager Bryan Klug felt his players didn’t “deserve the kick in the teeth” as Nottingham Forest staged a late, late turnaround to defeat the Blues 2-1 at the City Ground.
“I thought it was a good away performance,” Klug, who was managing the team for the first time since taking temporary charge after Mick McCarthy’s departure, said.
“I thought we had a nice mixture of resilience, I forget the word used to describe it, but I thought we did that, and when we could I thought we tried to play, not always with as much success as we’d like but we had a fair bit of the ball.
“In the first half I didn’t think we created too much but obviously we got the goal. I thought in the second half we did have a few chances but didn’t get the crucial second goal and ultimately we paid for that really.
“We got a little bit deep, but until the penalty I wasn’t ultra-concerned. But there you are, that’s a harsh reality of football, isn’t it?
“In that dressing room back there, all I could say to them was ‘I don’t think you really deserved that, thank you for all your efforts’.
“I have to say since Tuesday when Mick left they’ve been in every way first class with us, with what we’ve tried to say to them, which is exactly what I expected, by the way. They didn’t deserve the kick in the teeth that we had there.”
Any complaints regarding the penalty? “I haven’t really had a look at it, it looked like we had a man the wrong side, I think it was Wardy was the wrong side.
“When you make a challenge in those circumstances you always give the referee an opportunity to give what he gave. But he seemed to be in a good position, the referee, so you have to take that.
“Then [for Forest to score the winner] with five seconds to go of the five additional minutes, that is unbelievable. All we can do is pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game.”
It was an up and down afternoon for Ward, who had put the Blues in front in the 38th minute.
“That’s Grant Ward, I guess,” Klug reflected. “Obviously he got the goal and I thought he did some really good things going forward.
“It was a risk and reward situation picking him in that position but obviously we were running out of players really, I thought he acquitted himself really well, I’m not going to criticise him.”
Klug previously played Ward in that position in their time together at the Tottenham academy.
“He hated it, he hated it when I played him at right-back,” Klug recalled. “I was trying to improve his defending. If he’d listened!”
The 57-year-old had taken charge of one training session prior to the game so says he was never going to revolutionise the way the side plays.
“You got exactly what you expected from the team, they’re not going to change, that’s how they’ve been playing for a long time and it’s a great quality to have, to be so competitive and stay in games,” he added.
“I thought when we did have the opportunity to play we did up to a point, but when you’re playing against a team in the Championship it’s really hard and Nottingham Forest have got some really good players.
“But I thought we created some good chances and some of that came from good football.”
Town played the ball around in spells and players were demanding it from the back three at times.
“There was a mixture, they have to be brave to do those kind of things, it’s easy for us in the stands or in the dugout,” Klug continued.
“I thought I saw some bravery to try and get on the ball, we didn’t always do the right things with it but I thought the mentality was to try and play and we’ll try and develop that, obviously.”
Regarding his assistants Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg, who patrolled the technical area while Klug remained on the bench, he said: “I can’t speak highly enough of those two. Since Tuesday, they’ve embraced the challenge and I thought the game plan that we came up with together was a decent way of approaching it because we can’t change that quickly.
“I thought it was a decent [performance], but they’ve been absolutely great and they’re both really enjoying the experience.”
Asked about Nash prowling around the technical area, he added: “I made sure he was wound up to do that! He was trying to pass on good advice and I think he managed it.
"Just like the players, I’m really, really sorry for them in the dressing room in there, I feel sorry that they’ve not got something that they deserved out of it but even more so for those two young coaches.”
Did he enjoy the experience? “Obviously for 87 minutes I was quite happy but I’m not happy now because football is about winning games and I think we did everything we could to win the game, so it’s not enjoyable.
“You’ve got people who have travelled and spent good money and they want to see you win. But I hope people have gone away saying it was a decent effort.”
Ben Morris, 18, was handed his first senior start, although Klug says he could just as easily have been one of the club’s other young strikers making his full debut.
“I threw him in, it could have been Ben Folami but I wanted to give Ben some minutes because, with his pace, I thought he would a threat and would stretch the game a little bit,” he explained.
“Obviously he worked very hard, he didn’t have any real opportunities but I thought he did some really good things and hopefully he’ll be better for it.”
He confirmed that Bersant Celina missed out due to illness: “Yes, he came down with a throat virus yesterday, hopefully he’ll be back for next week.”
Barry Cotter dropped to the bench having made a promising debut on Tuesday as the Irish youngster was still feeling the effects of that match.
“Barry’s legs, he’s still wobbling now,” Klug joked. “I was very close to putting him on there, but he’ll be flying for next week.”
Cotter joined the Blues in January from Limerick in Ireland, where the season runs through the summer, and missed their pre-season having completed the previous campaign at the end of October.
“He missed his pre-season and stuff like that and we don’t want to get any more injuries,” Klug added.
The academy head of coaching and player development was pleased with Tristan Nydam, who was watched by England U19s coach Paul Simpson, believing he put in his best display for the senior side.
“I think he might have got a little bit of cramp [before he went off] but that was as good as I’ve seen him play for the first team,” he enthused.
“I think we saw a lot of the things [we’ve seen at lower levels], I thought he played with a little bit more freedom and affected the game. I thought it was a good performance from him.
“I thought it was a really good performance from Myles Kenlock. I was very keen to play him in consecutive games but I thought he acquitted himself well.
“There were some good performances all around the pitch. I’ll go through the team, I think Cameron Carter-Vickers was really, really good, Jonas had a good game, Jordan Spence, they couldn’t have given us any more. It’s tough to take.”
Forest boss Aitor Karanka admitted he wasn't expecting his side's long wait for a goal - they hadn't scored for six matches prior to today - to come in such a dramatic manner right at the end of the match.
“I was expecting them sooner, in the first half when we had two or three chances," he said. "The main thing is that the goals have arrived and we won the game.
“For me, three points today are massive and now we have four games to finish and now were are not safe but we can be more comfortable in the table and thinking about the final game, knowing that last season the club was fighting to the last second and this season we are better.”
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