Nottingham Forest were unable to build on their midweek win against Queens Park Rangers as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Cardiff City.
The Reds endured a frustrating afternoon at the City Ground in which they struggled to create many clear-cut chances.
The Bluebirds scored the winner with their first chance of the match. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was given too much space on the edge of the box and curled a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.
The game was certainly a disappointment from a Forest perspective. However, the Reds remain fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, seven points off the automatic promotion places.
Following the defeat, Nottingham Forest News looked at five talking points from the contest.
Are Carvalho and Silva too similar?
There’s no doubt that both João Carvalho and Tiago Silva are talented players. The question is whether or not they are ‘too similar’ to both be named in the starting line-up.
Silva has made 21 appearances for the Reds, and has been instrumental in recent weeks. However, Sabri Lamouchi had to move him into a deeper role in order to accommodate Carvalho against Cardiff.
On this occasion, Carvalho wasn’t able to conjure up the magic he produced at Loftus Road on Wednesday, and Silva was left having to play a more defensive role.
The Reds seem to be more comfortable when playing two holding midfielders, and then either Silva or Carvalho further forward.
Struggles when behind
It always felt like it was going to be a tough game against Cardiff. Neil Harris has restored confidence in the Bluebirds since taking over from Neil Warnock, and they’ve always got the better of the Reds in recent years.
The Reds certainly made it difficult for themselves by conceding so early.
The Bluebirds hadn’t won away from home all season and that goal gave them something to hang on to. They had the ability to sit-back and soak up everything the Reds threw at them.
There’s no doubt that Lamouchi’s men struggled after they went behind. They need to find a way to get back into games when they fall behind, especially at home.
Poor decisions from officials didn’t help
It became clear early on that it could develop into a frustrating afternoon for the Reds. This frustration was clear as referee Robert Jones was twice booed off by supporters.
Lamouchi admitted post-match that he was particularly frustrated by one decision. He felt that the Reds should’ve had a penalty in the second-half as Carvalho’s shot was seemingly blocked by a hand.
Not only this, but the failure to add more time on for Cardiff’s time-wasting tactics was another cause of frustration.
Ameobi remains inconsistent
One player who certainly wasn’t at it against the Bluebirds was Sammy Ameobi.
The 27-year-old has been harshly criticised for his performance on social media. Ameobi certainly wasn’t at his best against Cardiff, but that doesn’t take away from his contributions so far this season.
Ameobi was arguably one of Forest’s most impressive performers against QPR in midweek and got the assist for the crucial second goal.
However, he only managed to create one chance against Cardiff, which isn’t good enough considering how many times he was given the ball in a good position.
Semedo deserving of a start?
With the benefit of hindsight, Lamouchi may feel he should’ve started Alfa Semedo over Carvalho in this game.
Semedo looked bright when he was introduced against QPR in midweek, and looked lively when he replaced Carvalho in this game too.
He’s certainly more of a physical presence and his driving runs from midfield may have helped break the Bluebirds down.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the 22-year-old loanee from Benfica is drafted in to face Millwall next week.