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Disappointing result but positive signs

13 January 2018

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Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said he saw enough in tonight's performance against Aston Villa to be heartened.

The Reds were beaten by a Scott Hogan goal to nil at The City Ground but Karanka believes his young side will only continue to improve as they move into the second half of the campaign.

Speaking after the game he said: "Obviously we have to improve but there were some positive signs tonight. It was the first game for me and I knew there were a lot of expectations following the Arsenal game but today we came up against a very solid and experienced Villa team.

"We have a lot of potential up front but we have a young squad who need to improve. The quality we have in the side is very good but we need to be more aggressive, more intense and more organised.

"We haven't had the time to prepare the game as we would like but now we have a whole week to get ready for Wolves. They're a young group so we have to keep encouraging them and supporting them as they look to improve."

Forest failed to break down an organised and compact Villa side but Karanka was pleased by his side's endeavour and claims there is much for him to build upon ahead of next weekend's trip to Molineux.

He said: "When you play against a solid and experienced team it is difficult so we need to understand that we have a young side who have a long way to go. 

"The main thing is to have a balance in your side of experienced players and young players with potential and energy. These players have a long way to go but step-by-step we will get there and move forward.

"This is an important week coming up but it's important not to put too much pressure on the players. It's my job to protect them and make sure we are in the best-possible shape for the next game."

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