Tobias Figueiredo has earned a surprise reprieve in the Nottingham Forest team this season. Injuries to Joe Worrall and Loic Mbe Soh have catapulted him back into Chris Hughton’s plans once again.
The Portuguese defender essentially started the season as the fourth choice central defender. Scott McKenna began the season playing centre-back alongside Mbe Soh, with Worrall nursing a calf problem.
The Frenchman hobbled out of the action just before half-time during the trip to Coventry. Figueiredo has been a mainstay ever since, playing the full 90 minutes in the last three league outings.
An alarming statistic has emerged, however, which highlights why Figueiredo might not be quite right for Forest.
Against Coventry, the Reds scored by playing through the lines. Mbe Soh stepped out and played the ball through to Johnson who had time and space to turn and progress with the ball.
Playing out from the back isn’t an aspect that Figueiredo is familiar with. Who Scored can highlight this with some statistics from Saturday’s game.
The 27-year-old attempted 46 passes with a success ratio of just over 80%. More alarmingly, however, he attempted 11 long balls, with just three of them reaching their intended target.
Can there be a solution when it comes to Figueiredo at Forest?
The solution could be to sign a new defender. If Mbe Soh and Worrall are going to be out for much longer then the Reds might have to dip into the transfer market.
Figueiredo’s defensive numbers on Saturday weren’t bad. He made two tackles, two interceptions and no fewer than six clearances. It’s his inability to play out from the back that does often bring errors into his game, however.
Of course, Forest aren’t struggling purely because of Figueiredo’s inability to play out from the back. He does prefer to go long and Forest simply don’t have the players in attack to hold the ball up.
Right now, Figueiredo’s inability to adapt to what Hughton wants his teams to do is crippling Forest. The conundrum now is whether or not to dip into the transfer market for another centre-back before the window closes.