Nottingham Forest have taken the “it isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish” mantra to heart in the 2019-20 campaign.

With the hope being that the Reds will end on the highest of highs come May.

The foundations on which to build that dream are in the process of being put in place.

Sabri Lamouchi has overseen a 15-game start to his reign which has delivered 28 points.

He is, however, not getting carried away.

The man calling the shots has told the Nottingham Post of promotion talk in the recent past: “Step by step.

“To talk about promotion… I don’t say it is impossible for the fans, for you, for the club, maybe.

“But it is like this every year because this club deserves the best.”

Lamouchi is right to avoid stirring the pot.

Forest are well placed heading towards the hectic festive period, but it is just a start.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

No prizes are given out in November.

And there are obvious areas of improvement for a side that has fared admirably to this point.

One of those concerns starts and finishes once again.

The Reds have made a habit this season of saving their best for last.

Which is no bad thing, given the results which have been achieved.

Lamouchi is, however, aware that his team can make life a little easier for themselves.

He has called for more on a regular basis, despite getting plenty from those at his disposal.

If Forest were to find a way of getting out of the blocks quicker, then some of the nervous tension which remains could be lifted.

As things stand, only one side in the Championship has scored fewer first-half goals than the Reds.

That team is Birmingham, who have five to their name compared to Forest’s haul of six.

At the opposite end of the scale, Preston have managed 14 goals through the opening 45 minutes of their games, while West Brom, Hull City, Blackburn, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff, Millwall and Bristol City are all into double figures.

Of course, when you wind the clock further a little, the picture alters dramatically.

Just five teams have plundered more second-half goals than Forest – who have mustered 14.


West Brom (18), QPR (17), Preston (17), Fulham (15) and Bristol City (15) sit above them.

Points have been salvaged or secured on a regular basis this term after the interval.

On only one occasion in the league have the Reds found the target twice during the first half.

The result that day? 3-0 against Birmingham.

The only time this season that Lamouchi’s men have won a Championship game by more than the odd goal.

So there is clearly something in bursting out of traps.

That is, of course, easier said than done and Lamouchi’s blueprint has been built on defensive stability.

The plan has been to stay in games long enough to go and take something from them.

A glance at the table suggests that philosophy has worked just fine.

It is, after all, all about that finish.

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