As he took his seat after a 1-0 win over Brentford, Sabri Lamouchi will have known the question was coming – the Joao Carvalho one.
Ease in with a few about the game, happy with three points, yada yada yada.
Lull the Frenchman into a false sense of security and then…bam!
Where was Carvalho?
Why wasn’t he involved at all in the matchday squad?
Is that an indication that he will be on the move before deadline day?
Are the Reds ready to cut their losses?
Give us answers!!!
Lamouchi, as you would expect, batted away the inquisition in calm and considered manner.
Chema Rodriguez’s name was even thrown into the mix.
The versatile defender was another notable absentee at Griffin Park.
Both he and Carvalho have generated plenty of speculation of late.
Moves to Turkey, in SDNA, and Spain, via Cadena SER, have been mooted.
Lamouchi is having none of it.
He told the Nottingham Post when quizzed on the exit talk and why he overlooked Carvalho and Chema in west London: “Tactically, it was a little bit different. And my plan for the bench was also a different profile.
“It was just a tactical decision, that’s it, nothing else.
“We need them. We have 17 games to play. It will be very difficult and very tough.”
Probing seen off with the same disdain shown for Championship opposition on the road this season.
You can try and breach the defences, but you will fail!
This is, of course, all part of the fun at this time of year.
Forest have, as things stand, only got one fresh face on board in the January window.
With little tangible business done, we have to fill the time gossiping about ifs, buts and maybes.
That is what silly season is all about.
Lamouchi, and Forest as a collective, are playing the game.
They will have known that the absence of Carvalho and Chema on Tuesday was going to spark debate.
Flames have been well and truly fanned.
Maybe it is all a distraction technique.
What if the aforementioned duo are being edged towards the exits?
Does that mean that we are in for a lively countdown to 11pm on Friday?
If two senior stars were allowed to move on, then surely a couple more would come in.
Perhaps, though, we should all trust Lamouchi and take him on his word.
That approach has served the Reds well so far in 2019-20.
If he says he was merely shuffling his pack, then that should be good enough for a loyal legion of supporters.
Answers, one way or another, will have been found by the time team sheets drop at St Andrew’s on Saturday!