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Interviews

Karanka on new season

23 May 2018

The hard work doesn't let up for Aitor Karanka and Nottingham Forest as preparations are well underway for the new season.

The Forest manager is keen to ensure that everything is in place for his side to mount a promotion challenge in the 2018-19 season and he is putting in the hard work throughout the summer.

Speaking to iFollow Forest, he said: "Obviously, everybody wants to hear that we are going to fight for promotion, but it is impossible to say if we don't do the right things in the summer and if we don't work well in pre-season.

"I would like to say that promotion is the aim but everybody has to understand the pressure. If we start the season badly, it doesn't mean that we won't get promotion. This is the kind of pressure that I like and it is to show this kind of pressure to the players and the ones that are coming.

"I hope that they are coming here knowing that next season is going to be an important season for everybody, not just in the papers in interviews or just saying that it is going to be an important season.

"I didn't come here to spend my time in the middle of the table; it is going to be a nice season knowing that it is going to be tough and knowing that it is going to be good for us.

"The idea of the owners and the board has been clear since I arrived here. They talked about it in the first meeting and it is the reason why I came here. I like the aim, I like the club and I like the people who are involved in this project and going together, I believe we can do it."

There has been a renewed sense of optimism around the club since the Spaniard's appointment in January and he is determined to make sure that the team he assembles gives their all for the club.

Karanka made a raft of new additions during the January transfer window and, with more new faces expected this summer, he wants to ensure the club are heading in the right direction.

He added: "I have my batteries full because I was out for 10 months, they're still full and again really excited for the future because since I've been here, I feel that we can do something good and the team on the pitch was a reflection of what's happened in the club.

"The last years haven't been good and the team was a reflection of that time. I think now is more or less one year since Mr Marinakis and Mr Kominakis arrived with new people. I arrived three or four months ago but I can understand that we are really excited for the future because everybody has everything clear.

"The meetings I had with the players were difficult but for me it's really important to be clear and honest with them because I used to be one of them and I preferred to hear sometimes things that I didn't like to hear, but with time I realised that those things were true.

"To keep them without telling them the truth and then one day they can tell you that you fooled them, so it's difficult because you have to tell them something that it's not good for anybody but at least I hope they can appreciate our honesty.

"We want to sign the better players as possible, but obviously with that character that you need in the Championship. Players who know the league, who are good players because we have very good young players in the squad and that mixture can be very good.

"Having a togetherness is vital. To build a strong team, you need a strong changing room and to have that, they need to fight for each other, they need to fight together and to spend time on the pitch, at the training ground, in hotels with a lot of hours during the day sharing different things and that is important."

The fans can play a vital role next season in helping Forest to achieve their targets, and Karanka paid credit to them for their incredible backing during his tenure so far.

With close to 18,000 season cards sold for next season, Karanka feels that adds pressure onto his side to achieve but it is a pressure that he and the players will relish.

He said: "I think they've been brilliant because even at the very beginning when we didn't start well, they were supporting us. I can't say that I liked that when we were losing 3-0 and they left the stadium because I'd like to keep them for 94 minutes in the stadium but I understood that day that they were a really demanding crowd and I love that; they showed us that they want to be with us in good moments but they want to be at our best level because they're demanding and a club like this needs a demanding crowd.

"The fans can be really important and I'm really looking forward to starting the season because if we had played the last three or four games at home, playing for nothing and 25,000 people in the stadium, I can't imagine what it's going to be like next season if we start it well.

"And now I think we're nearly over 18,000 season card holders so it is going to be an amazing season. I think they were expecting this kind of moment because it's been a long time that the club hasn't been in a good position and they're obviously excited for the future.

"It's really important because those games that we're going to have problems to win, with their help it's going to be another player on the pitch. For me, to try to fight for something at the beginning of the season and telling them we're going to fight for promotion, for the player, it's just a fact not words because since I've been here I've felt the club is doing their best – the owners, the CEO, the chairman they're all doing their best and again I'm really excited for the future."


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