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An important point from a tough battle

11 March 2018

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Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka was satisfied with his side's fighting spirit in the goalless draw against Derby County this afternoon.

Both sides struggled to carve out clear goalscoring opportunities as they battled hard at The City Ground but Karanka believes the result is another building block for him as his team stretched their unbeaten run to six matches.

Speaking after the game he said: "I think in the end it was a fair result from an emotional derby. We didn't have many chances but we're building ourselves up as a team and we were extremely competitive against one of the best team in the league. 

"We can't forget that these players have only been together for a month and some of them who hadn't played much football are now playing three games in a week. The lads are still getting to know each other and we will continue to improve.

"At the end I thought we looked a little bit afraid to lose the game rather than to go on and win it but the reaction of the crowd showed what they thought of the players' efforts. They got right behind them throughout the game and that was really pleasing."

The Reds were indebted to goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon who made a terrific double-save in first-half stoppage time but Karanka says it was an important day for his players, both young and old.

He said: "It was a different atmosphere today because of the opposition but I'm really happy with how the players managed the game. We haven't had a great deal of time to train this week and prepare as we'd like but at least we have taken something from the game.

"Today was a great experience for our young players, the likes of Brereton, Cash and Dowell, and it will only help them moving forward in the future. In the end I think they will be better players because of today's game and the experience they've had.

"Costel's double-save was important and he's been superb for us since he arrived. I knew all about his ability when I signed him and he's the kind of player who is great in the Championship because he can manage games and help the team."

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