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A vital win but work to do

20 February 2021

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton was delighted to get three points on the board against Blackburn Rovers this afternoon but admitted the standards of his side's performances must improve.

The Reds were forced to work hard for victory over Tony Mowbray's side as Brice Samba's penalty save from Adam Armstrong ensured Alex Mighten's first-half goal would be the difference and Hughton believes his team invited too much pressure onto themselves by giving the ball away too cheaply in the wrong areas of the pitch.

Speaking after the game, he said: "It was a hard-fought victory today but that's the Championship and that's football. We were on the back of our best performance of the season at Swansea on Wednesday where we didn't win yet on the balance of play today, I couldn't say we deserved to win but certainly in terms of chances, we had four really good opportunities to their one that hit the post in the first half.

"What you always have to do is look at the positives. We needed a wonderful save from Brice to keep the penalty out but otherwise it's another clean sheet against another good footballing side who we have restricted to minimum chances. As a unit we had to dig deep and make sure we stopped them from creating anything clear-cut but I do agree that we can play better than that today.

"I think we would have been harder to break down today had we kept the ball better. We had a good spell before our goal but for some reason once we'd scored, we allowed Blackburn too much possession and that was because we didn't keep it well enough. However, the work ethic and character in this group is good and there's a wonderful feeling in the changing room after that result because the players know how important three points are.

"It is important to start this week with three points because the game today and the games at Rotherham and Derby will be just as difficult as the ones we've just had against Bournemouth and Swansea but for different reasons. I'd like to see us be much better on the ball than we were today but there are still plenty of positives to take.

"It was a very good save from Brice for the penalty and he was up against a top striker who has already scored 20 goals this season. Adam Armstrong is generally a player who hits the back of the net from penalties but Brice did superbly to keep it out and then get up to hold onto the rebound as well so I'm really pleased for him because it caps off a good period for him."

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