Nottingham Forest head coach Philippe Montanier wants his side to have better control of the ball when they take on Newcastle United on Friday night.
Forest lost out to Huddersfield on Boxing Day, with two own goals cancelling out Hildeberto Pereira’s first-half opener, and Montanier felt better management of the ball could have brought a result at the John Smith’s Stadium.
He said: “We were unlucky with the goals that we conceded but Huddersfield played very well. The team worked very hard defensively, we were poor with the ball, but when you lead 1-0 and concede two own goals you feel a bit unlucky.
“We lost the battle in midfield and they had a good control of the game and the ball. When the attackers don’t have the ball it is difficult to attack and I am not satisfied with how we used the ball as we didn’t have many opportunities to score. If we could have led 1-0 for longer in the second half it could have been a different game.
“Every game is different but Newcastle are a tough team, especially at home. It is a nice stadium with a good atmosphere so it is a good challenge.
“We need to be strong defensively as if you leave a lot of space they have good attackers. But we need to take our chances too and attack quickly and find a balance between a defensive mentality and managing the ball well. If we don’t do that it will be difficult to get a result.”
Ben Osborn is a doubt for the game at St James’ Park after coming off with an injury on Boxing Day and Joe Worrall could also miss out after injuring his hip.
Montanier said that he will have to manage his squad as it gets set to play the second of three games in a week.
He said: “You have to plan especially when you have a lot of injured players. Some players can recover and some can play three consecutive games. It is difficult as there are a lot of injuries and the squad is short to manage three games in the same week.
“With Ben I am optimistic, we will see tomorrow. He is small but a strong man and I hope he can play this game. Kasami was sick before the game and he feels better and there is a doubt about Joe Worrall.
“I think Jack [Hobbs] is ready. He showed very good things in the last two or three weeks. We manage him for the two games but I think he is OK and he played a good game against Huddersfield and I think he can continue to help the team.
“If I could have 80 per cent of my squad it would be good. Always you have injuries – one, two or three and sometimes it is exceptional to have no injuries or eight or 10 injuries. It is not normal to have eight or 10 all the time.
“It is very frustrating as I would like to have 80 per cent of my squad to see our level and to continue with the same eleven. I am not greedy, I just want two or three games with the same line-up and the key players together.”