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"The red card changed the game"

19 April 2019

Nottingham Forest manager Martin O'Neill feels his side were on the wrong end of a tough decision from referee Andrew Madley in the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Yohan Benalouane's red card two minutes into the second half swung the contest firmly in the home side's favour and O'Neill believes his players could have achieved a positive result had it not been for that crucial decision.

Speaking after the game he said: "Obviously the sending off has changed the game. I thought we were well in the match throughout the first half and even after the sending off, which was a big moment in the game, we still had a decent amount of possession.

"I've just seen the incident back very briefly and I think a red card is very harsh. The referee said the next thing to happen was a shot on goal from McGoldrick but I think Molla Wague was round on the cover so Benalouane was not the last man.

"At Sheffield Wednesday we were caught out by an early goal in the second half but today has been more of a contentious talking point. That being said, we still created some reasonable situations for ourselves and got to the edge of the box but things petered out."

A 15th booking of the season means Jack Colback will now miss the final three games of the campaign but O'Neill says he will have no hesitation in changing things up to cover the midfielder's absence.

He said: "Jack Colback is now going to miss the rest of the season through suspension and that decision from the referee was a very close one to call. The defender has put his foot out and even if it's not a penalty, I think a yellow card is harsh because Jack hasn't dived.

"We've chosen to change things around a bit recently. Jack Colback has played a lot of games at left-back in his career and it gave us an opportunity to play Claudio Yacob in the middle of the park and I thought he and Ryan Yates played really well for us. 

"Our creativity is something that we are going to need to rectify next season. Lewis Grabban has scored plenty of goals this season but if we're going to challenge next year then we need two or three players who are going to get into double figures."


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