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A good game for us

15 July 2018

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Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka felt there were plenty of positives to take from his side’s performance against a strong Real Betis side, despite the 1-0 defeat.

A late goal from Ryad Boudebouz settled the contest at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador, but the defensive organisation and all-round performance from his side left Karanka feeling positive.

Speaking after the game, he said: "I am very pleased because I thought we played a very good game. We played against a very good team, last season Betis was very good and they are going to play Europa League this season.

"They are a team that likes to play good football and today we were really organised, we had good transitions and no injuries, a good tempo in the game so another good game for us.

"It was a test that is completely different to what we are going to find in the Championship. To start to be organised on the pitch, to be together and to know the things that we have to do when we don't have the ball, to play against teams like Betis is really important for us. We have players who have played 80 minutes, some 60-65 so I am really pleased."

Lewis Grabban and Hillal Soudani both came off the bench with impressive cameos in their first outing for The Reds and Karanka has been impressed by their, and the whole squad's, good attitude.

"I was very pleased because both of them were desperate to play and today was good for them," he said.

"I know they were a little bit frustrated because when they went into the game, it was when it started to be a little bit crazy because they changed their team at half time. But I am really pleased with the attitude, and not just from Lewis or Hillal, all of them did very well.

"The game today, like last Wednesday, is a reflection of how good they are training on the training ground every day. We started almost three weeks ago, the team is doing really well, the attitude of everybody is really good, the atmosphere is really good so it is just to keep going.

"On Monday we have another test and the players who didn't play today will play on Monday so it is another step."

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