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Reds' mentality pleases Karanka

22 September 2018

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said the victory over Rotherham this afternoon capped a very good week for The Reds.

The Forest boss admitted it wasn't the best performance from his side but he was pleased with his side's mental resolve to grind out the victory thanks to Lewis Grabban's late penalty.

Speaking after the game, he said: "It was important to win. It was important to show the spirit of the team. Everybody was fighting until the end, with the third game in this week and one day less rest than Rotherham.

"Sometimes it is not about how tired you are in your legs, it is about how tired you are in your head.

"I knew that they would be tough to break down. They have a good manager, they are in good form. I know that we had two days to recover, one day less than them, and everybody was expecting an easy win and that Rotherham would be easy to beat.

"But I knew that it would be a tough, Championship game. We were lucky, as you have to be lucky in those moments, but the most important thing for me is that we showed we were a really good team on the pitch even when we don't play our best."

Ben Osborn was fouled inside the penalty area in the closing stages, allowing Grabban to step up and convert from 12 yards, and Karanka was pleased for both of them and the impact that the substitutions had on the game.

"We tried to change things with the substitutions," he said. "I put Ben Osborn in the middle as he is more dynamic, with Joe Lolley wide and Gil and Joao we had more possession. Then we changed the shape with three at the back and tried to keep pushing because we don't have a replacement for Lewis Grabban at the moment, so we tried to keep pushing.

"When we move the ball and pass the ball with our quality, teams will get tired and make mistakes.

"I am pleased for Lewis as one week ago, when we didn't score, he was criticised and I said he was the best striker in the league. A week later, I can confirm he is the best striker in the league and about Ben, what can I say. He played as a winger, as a midfielder and as a full back. He got the penalty and he is the kind of player who is really good to have in the team."

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