Interim head of Academy Gary Brazil declared his Nottingham Forest side’s recent trip to Germany as ‘a good way to end a very good year’.He and his staff took an Under 19s team to play in the Youth Tournament of Ergenzingen - a small town half an hour’s drive from Stuttgart in Germany’s South-West.
The Reds finished sixth out of eight after suffering a 2-1 defeat against BSC Young Boys Bern in Sunday’s fifth-place playoff.
They had finished third in a group which included finalists SC Freiburg and eventual winners RB Salzburg, both of whom inflicted defeat on Brazil’s men.
But Forest ended the group stage on a high as Derrick Otim handed them a 1-0 win over FC Kaiserslautern.
Brazil said: “The games were good – very close, and the boys acquitted themselves well. But, at the end of a long, arduous season, we perhaps didn’t come out of it as well as we’d hoped.
“The two finalists, RB Salzburg and SC Freiburg, were both in our group which was tough.
“What you find when you go abroad now is that you will face technically strong teams. They are very good at moving the ball, Salzburg in particular. They’re not the biggest but are very good at working in packs both with and without possession, which was interesting.
“The other key thing was, as obvious as it sounds, the more successful teams had players who could score goals and pose a threat. The one or two players who stood out fell under that category.
“All in all, it was a very good tournament. You tend to find that the local community prepare all year for something like this – everyone got involved and it was very well-organised.
“It was an opportunity for the players and staff to get away – it was a good way to end a very good season.
“The town we stayed in, Herrenberg, was a beautiful place and it was good that the boys were able to experience the way other people live.”
The players returned from the trip on Tuesday and departed for the summer yesterday. They will report back to the club in five weeks’ time to prepare for the 2013-14 season.
Academy operations manager Craig Heiden’s account of the trip
Saturday 18 May
Freiburg 2-0 Forest
“Conceded a penalty and another goal within a minute of each other. Shot ourselves in the foot - we never looked in trouble throughout the game and the eventual result didn’t reflect that. But mistakes get punished at the highest level and the players need to learn that quickly.”
Sunday 19 May
Salzburg 2-1 Forest (Trialist)
“Salzburg were identified as the strongest side in our group and we found it tough going throughout. Once again, we conceded two goals in quick succession after half-time – the first a penalty, the second was well-worked.”
Kaiserslautern 0-1 Forest (Otim)
“We fielded a very young team in our evening game and a much-improved performance resulted in a 1-0 win. A good move presented Del Otim with the chance to score from close range. We were very pleased with the clean sheet.”
Fifth-place playoff: Young Boys 2-1 Forest (Gorman)
“We started the game well and took the lead through a Lawrence Gorman header. But we soon dropped off the pace and came under real pressure. Young Boys equalised soon after half-time and a defensive mistake cost us another goal late on.”
“Overall, tempo was missing from our play and we lacked the legs to dictate games at times. I think the hectic season had caught up with the players as there were some very tired bodies on the pitch- I think everyone is ready for a break!”