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Karanka on new additions

17 June 2018

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said that the experience already under the belts of João Carvalho and Diogo Gonçalves means they are great additions to his squad for next season.

The pair have both agreed to move from Portuguese side Benfica – Carvalho for a club-record fee and Gonçalves on loan for the 2018-19 campaign – and Karanka is excited about the prospect of them lining up in the Garibaldi red next season.

He said: “I am delighted. They are very good, talented players from Portugal. I know the Portuguese academies from working with the Spanish academies. I like to work with young players, especially when they are talented players, and I am sure they will be successful here. 

“They are young but they have played Champions League football. It is not easy to play at that level and when you are 21-years-old and have played in the Champions League, it is because you are a good player.

“When you are that age and you are talented, you can bring a lot of things. They have quality, they have versatility because they can play in different positions. In football, to have players like them can make the difference.”

Karanka believes that the capture of Carvalho for a club-record fee won’t add any extra pressure for the Portugal Under 21 international, and believes both he and Goncalves can flourish in the English game.

“I don’t think it does add pressure,” Aitor said. “When you have played Champions League football at 21-years-old, it is because you are mature. We are here to help him, he has to forget the price tag and show how good he is because money is money, but he will help us a lot for sure. 

“It is a good move for both of them, to come here and to keep growing and improving. They have played at one of the biggest clubs in Europe at Benfica and they come to the Championship to play in another amazing team.

“To keep growing, for them, is important. It is a completely different style of play but with us, they will play with the same methodology, they will give their best and I am really pleased for both of them as I am sure they will help us. It is good for the crowd as well as they can see that the club is working really well.”

The two attacking players have both made their breakthrough into first-team football in the last year and Karanka feels that having a mixture of that youthful exuberance and experienced, senior figures in the squad is the perfect recipe for success.

He said: “Knowing the Championship as I do, you need to mix players like them with those such as Michael Dawson, Danny Fox and Ben Watson. We are trying to create that mix as this season is going to be very long and tough and you need the freshness of the young players and the experience of the senior players.

“When you have played in the Champions League, it is for more than one reason. We know have six weeks to work together, we will play against different teams and a Premier League team in Bournemouth in pre-season. 

“They will need to train at 100 per cent as in order to improve, they need to do that and to bring players like them into the club is important, as well as the likes of Michael Dawson.

“I hope we can bring a few more in before we start again on the 25th. I said after the season that we would like to start pre-season with most of the players as possible, as it is important to have the group as soon as possible.”

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