Aitor Karanka has aired his frustration at Nottingham Forest not sticking to their principles against Preston, but what is his Plan B?

A disappointing afternoon at the City Ground on Saturday saw the Reds suffer a 1-0 reversal against the Lilywhites.

That was just a third defeat of the season, but it has dampened the mood somewhat.

Forest created enough chances on the day to win several games, never mind just one, with a lack of cutting edge ultimately costing them dear.

Enforced changes

Karanka had been forced into changes at the back, with questions being asked of Ben Osborn and Costel Pantilimon, but such debates should have been side issues in the grand scheme of things.

They aren’t, though, and the Reds need to establish why.

The man at the helm appears to think that an inability/refusal to follow his game plan is partly to blame, with a footballing philosophy deserted while chasing the game.

Karanka told the club’s official website: “I think the only thing we were missing was the goals. We played really well in the first half and should have been leading two or three-nil at half-time at least, potentially even by four or five if we’d taken our chances.

“We didn’t play in the right way in the second half, especially towards the end when we had Lewis [Grabban] and Daryl [Murphy] up front. We started playing long balls up to them and we didn’t read the game in the right way.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“We know that in the Championship you will get punished for every mistake that you make. We have to defend stronger and we have to keep our consistency for 95 minutes because if you don’t then you will suffer a defeat like we have today.

“Unfortunately though we couldn’t get the goals at the other end of the pitch. We have a particular style of play that we are used to but towards the end we tried to send long balls forward and it didn’t work.”

Introducing Murphy with 13 minutes remaining would appear to lend itself towards the kind of approach Karanka claims he was trying to avoid.

Any side with a ‘target man’ on the field, particularly when trailing, is going to go more direct.

Ultimate targets

If that wasn’t the approach the Reds were supposed to be taking, then it is up to the boss to get that message across.

And if that isn’t the instruction he was giving to his players, then what is his plan when Forest find themselves with their back to the wall?

With a trip to Derby next on the agenda, Karanka needs to have a clear vision in place and everybody pulling in the same direction.

Plan A has worked for the most part this season, but it didn’t against Preston and Plans B, C and D must be put in place if ultimate targets are to be hit.

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