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We need to be ourselves

28 August 2018

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Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said he wants his players to express themselves and play to the level he knows they can when they face Newcastle tomorrow night.

The Reds welcome Rafa Benitez's Premier League side to The City Ground in the second round of the Carabao Cup and Karanka believes his side can match them if they play to their full ability.

He said: "We need to go game by game and think about the Newcastle game tomorrow. It is in the cup, it is a different competition. To win one game, we need to be ourselves, play in the way that we train and be the compact team that we have to be.

"It is nice to come up against a Premier League team. Both cups are important because two or three weeks ago, we were playing against Bury and now we are playing against Newcastle.

"If we go through to the next round, maybe it is another big club. It is good to rotate the players and have everybody motivated, because to play against teams like Newcastle is good for everybody.

"They have a very good, experienced manager and they are a big club with very good players. But, even when we played against Bury or when we play against Newcastle, we need to be ourselves. The day that we are ourselves, we will compete against every single team, even Premier League teams.

"We need to be intelligent and to manage the game in the right way, to try to control the game with and without the ball. We can't forget that they are a very good team so we have to be ourselves."

Karanka made 11 changes for the first round tie against Bury and admits he has a few injury doubts ahead of the game.

"I need to think 100 per cent because we have a few injuries," he said when asked if he will rotate his squad. "I need to check a few players as I don't know if they will be available tomorrow.

"Lewis [Grabban] I don't know if he will be fit tomorrow, Michael Dawson and Hillal Soudani as well. Hillal finished the game with a bit of pain in his knee so there are three or four players I need to check if they are perfect."

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