Since when did giving people time in football become unreasonable?
That is the question I’ve asked myself several times after scanning the Nottingham Forest Twitter hashtag over the last few weeks, as it appears that nearly every opinion is conclusive.
After just ten Championship fixtures, apparently manager Philippe Montanier has two games to prove himself to some supporters, should be immediately sacked by others and was a horrendous appointment. TEN GAMES!
For someone experiencing English football for the first time as a manager, still trying to get his methods across to the players and having had his best player sold behind his back for a cut-price fee, I’d say Montanier’s done pretty well so far.
Twelve points out of a possible 30 isn’t the best start in the world, but it could have been a lot worse. As it stands, Forest have scored more goals (18) than surprise leaders Huddersfield Town (13), so it’s pretty obvious where the issue lies.
Currently, Forest have the second leakiest defence in the entire division, and are still without a clean sheet. It doesn’t help that injuries have made sure that our two best defenders – Damien Perquis and Michael Mancienne – haven’t had much game time together, and nor does it that Dani Pinillos – the club’s best left-back – has just returned to training after a nine-month absence.
It also isn’t useful that in the full-back areas, we are exceptionally poor. Danny Fox simply isn’t good enough, Armand Traore hasn’t had a chance to nail down the slot due to fitness issues, and down the other side, the usually consistent Eric Lichaj is showing just why Aston Villa released him when they were in the Premier League.
Throw in the fact that Oliver Burke was sold against the manager’s will, and it’s easy to see why there are problems. Montanier is going to need time, and there will be plenty of bumps along the way – but table toppers Huddersfield were in exactly the same position last year, and look at them now.
What is frustrating to see is how the fans vent their frustration by finding scapegoats. The latest one is seemingly Swiss international Pajtim Kasami. Now admittedly, Kasami was dire in the 2-2 draw away at Villa, and should have scored against Arsenal with the match at 0-0. Some of the abuse however, has been unwarranted and unfair.
In Tuesday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Fulham, it was Kasami who played a significant role in getting Forest on the scoresheet, with a majestic drive through the middle before a great ball in paved the way for big Nicklas Bendtner to open his goalscoring account with the Reds.
Looking at the comments after the game, you’d have thought he’d scored four own goals and got sent off. Form is temporary, class is permanent – Kasami is a classy player and will prove that.
The same can be applied to Ben Osborn, who is bang out of form at present – but he will get his act together and show why he’s at the club, I’m sure of it.
Mustapha Carayol was another who coined abuse, despite being excellent in the harsh 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. This behaviour isn’t exactly productive – if you’re going to get angry (easily done with Forest) then vent your frustration at someone who deserves it in Fawaz Al-Hasawi instead, who hopefully will be long gone soon.
The only criticism that is justified is the comments levelled at Nicolau Dumitru, who is currently doing his utmost to be Forest’s worst ever Championship signing. The less said about him the better. Up next for the Reds is an away trip to Bristol City… hopefully on loan wonderkid Tammy Abraham leaves his shooting boots at home!