Chris Hughton cut a dejected figure as Nottingham Forest lost their second successive Championship game. Some of his comments afterwards, however, might leave some supporters baffled.
Bournemouth won courtesy of goals from David Brooks and Philip Billing. Forest’s goal was scored by Scotland international Scott McKenna.
The Cherries played for around half an hour with just 10 men though. Brooks was dismissed for pulling back Alex Mighten when already on a yellow card.
Forest boss Hughton chose to leave two holding midfielders on the pitch until eight minutes from the end of normal time. After the game he was quizzed on the strategy and his comments will perhaps leave some supporters scratching their heads.
He told Nottinghamshire Live: “It’s about momentum. I thought we had good momentum. At that stage, I thought we were threatening. That’s the balance.
“We changed the system as the game went on, putting Philip Zinckernagel in a deeper role – thinking he could be more of a purveyor of the ball than higher up the pitch.”
Forest had some chances during the contest. Ryan Yates hit the post in the first half, whilst Mark Travers made some good saves in the Cherries goal.
With 10-men, however, Bournemouth were very comfortable. Forest huffed and puffed but clearly, keeping two holding midfielders on was an error of judgement.
Fearful approach crippling Forest
Hughton has been there and done it when it comes to getting teams out of the Championship. Right now though, Forest look a million miles away from being promotion contenders.
Whilst the Reds aren’t always quite as negative and boring as some supporters like to make out, there was a clear lack of desire to try and make life tricky for a 10-man Bournemouth.
Had Hughton withdrawn Ryan Yates or Jack Colback earlier, they could have got themselves higher up the pitch and piled the pressure on the Cherries.
In dropping Zinckernagel deeper, Forest lost one of their best attacking players on the day and the decision made no sense. If anything, Bournemouth looked the more threatening, even though they had a man less.
Hughton does seem to struggle to influence games with his substitutes and tactical changes and that’s becoming a real worry.
Of course, there is a long way to go this season but yesterday, plenty of supporters felt a real sense of deja vu from another bizarre tactical showing.
The challenge for Hughton is to stop the rot and get Forest climbing up the Championship table.