Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman says he can build on performances like tonight’s against Watford.
The Reds were beaten 3-1 by the promotion-chasing Hornets
but, despite seeing Kelvin Wilson dismissed in the second half, they pushed their opponents all the way.
And, while Freedman couldn’t hide his disappointment at the defeat, his overriding emotion was pride.
The manager said: “I was hugely proud of my players and the way they applied themselves against a fantastic team.
“We had opportunities in the first half. We didn’t take them, they took theirs. It was probably the difference tonight.
“It was a huge effort and I’m so, so proud. As a coach I can’t ask for any more from my players.
“Don’t get me wrong, I want to be a winner, but I can build on that kind of spirit and performance and I can certainly see signs of success when things do go our way.
“Although the fans will go home disappointed, I felt they knew the players played for the shirt tonight.”
Freedman put Wilson’s red card down to ‘red mist’ after the defender clashed with striker Odion Ighalo.
Wilson will now miss the final three matches of the season through suspension but his manager isn’t considering any internal disciplinary action.
Freedman said: “I tell the players to live on the line. I want 100% commitment. Sometimes you’re going to go over the line and he’s done that tonight.
“He’s been fantastic for us and shown he’s willing to put the effort in day in, day out.
“His season’s over from a playing point of view but his support is still needed in the dressing room and on the training ground.”