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A tough day at the office

2 February 2019

Nottingham Forest manager Martin O'Neill says he must balance the need to find out more about his players with achieving results following the 2-0 defeat at Birmingham City.

The Reds were beaten by a goal in each half at St Andrew's and the Forest boss knows his side cannot afford to lose any more ground in the race to finish in the top six.

Speaking after the game he said: "We've taken on some players and a few of them have not had a lot of game time. They haven't played for some time and they need a bit of fitness so it will take some time for them to get used to things. One or two training sessions hasn't been enough but they will get there.

"Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I know we can rectify that. I'm trying to find out about all of my players but at the same time, not lose ground by losing football matches.

"We're still confident that we can reach the top six but it will be tough. As a club, we haven't won back-to-back matches since September and that's something that a club fighting relegation shouldn't be looking at, let alone a side going for promotion."

O'Neill was pleased with his side's opening to the game at St Andrew's but bemoaned the lack of concentration which led to Jota's 13th-minute strike which opened the scoring.

He said: "We started brightly and hit the post but then we conceded a very poor goal from our point of view. We've got a lot of work to do over the next few weeks to improve things.

"We played well in the second half and had plenty of possession but couldn't carve out the opening apart from Bonatini's late chance. We're disappointed to have lost the game because, particularly in the second half, I felt we'd go on to get the equaliser.

"We knew it would be tough today, it was a battle and they utilised their two centre forwards incredibly well. We haven't yet developed a pattern of play and that is what we need to discover over the next couple of weeks."

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