Nottingham Forest stuck another two fingers up to their doubters against Cardiff, having made a habit of doing so this season.

Was it pretty against the Bluebirds?

Not really.

Does anybody care?

Not a jot.

Three points is all that matters, regardless of how said haul is collected.

Would it be nice to play with swagger and win at a canter?

Of course, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

Making the best of what you’ve got is the philosophy being embraced by Sabri Lamouchi and those at his disposal.

And what Forest have got is guts and determination in abundance.

Substance

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

That will carry you a long way, as the Reds are proving.

Fancy football and chances aplenty are all well and good, but it is only the end result that counts.

Hi Leeds, we can see you!

Despite being overlooked and written off on a seemingly weekly basis, Forest remain right in the mix.

Questions can be asked of the style, but not the substance.

Lamouchi has found a blueprint for success and stuck rigidly to it.

Rightly so.

From the get go in 2019-20, the Reds have been set up to be a nuisance for opponents.

Have as much possession as you want but be wary of those counter-attacks, we’ll get you eventually.

Points have been taken off every side in the top-half of the table.

That is not down to luck.

Fortune

 

Fortune does not have you sat third after 35 games.

If there was a chink in the armour, it would have been exposed by now.

Lamouchi told the Nottingham Post on the back of a 1-0 victory in South Wales: “I am not looking at the others. Of course I know the results, but we just need to focus on ourselves. We just take it game by game.

“Last week I said we just want to increase the belief, and we increase the belief game after game.

“What I feel inside the dressing room is that the players are so focused. They are not tired. I don’t know where they find the energy for that kind of effort in the last minute.

“They are so concentrated and so focused. It is so nice to work with them. I am so proud.

“They are playing for the fans, playing for the club and playing for themselves. They are doing well and they deserve to be where they are. They are there by merit.”

Correct, they are.

It is not always pleasing on the eye, but few will complain if the ultimate target is hit.

Forest may remain something of an ugly duckling in the second tier, but they are maturing nicely into a potential Premier League swan.

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