Pre-season and ,in particularly, the Bournemouth encounter proved 3 things. Firstly, that one should never be dubious towards the wise, savvy decisions of Aitor Karanka (the signings of Joao Carvalho and Diogo Gonçalves). Secondly, that Karanka has created the perfect blend of experience (Watson,Grabban), leadership (Dawson), budding youth (Yates,Cash) and foreign players who are desperately trying to establish themselves in the English game. “A breath of fresh air” is how Jack Colback described it. Finally, and most importantly, it has vindicated that the fans are excited too, after the count reached 20,000 season tickets purchased and a 14,000 attendance to a mere pre-season match. More than our opponents today, Bournemouth, get at a regular home game in the Premier League.
Stand out performers
Gil Dias – Two magnificent solo goals against Malaga and Bournemouth has surely earned Dias a place in the starting 11 for Bristol. Defenders couldn’t cope with his dribbling and speed of thought.
Adeline Guedioura- Guedioura provided a complete performance against Bournemouth. We know he has the flair and trickery but today he showed “the dirty side of his game”, making some crunching challenges with his endless energy. While the chances of him starting are slim, he has the quality to come off the bench and cause havoc this season.
Ryan Yates- An impressive loan spell at Notts County wasn’t enough for Karanka. He was preparing to loan Yates out for the second time, until the 20 year old displayed his premature composure and developing leadership abilities in a solid performance vs scunthorpe. He has been deemed by many as the future of Forest. As a result, Karanka chose to keep the midfielder at the reds for 2018/19 to see if he can cope against a higher quality opposition.
Diego Gonçalves- The former Benfica man truly showed his frightening potential today. His nifty dribbling and pace caused huge problems for the Bournemouth defenders, yet what really stood out was his spot on decision making and distribution in the final third. Forest have been lacking a player like Gonçalves for a long time.
Aitor Karanka- Karanka has a clear blueprint for Forest this season. Be proactive rather than reactive. The high press and high intensity football we saw today is similar to the way Jurgen Klopp organises Liverpool. He has perfected the balance of youth and experience, creating an ideal dressing room atmosphere.
Where we belong
20 years out of the Premier League and finally we have a squad and manager that are capable of returning the Garibaldi to where it belongs. There are no faults, no obvious areas in the squad where they could stumble upon. Everything, from the remarkable depth, the strong pre-season performances, the competition for places, to the kind gestures like making pre-seasons games free for season ticket holders thus igniting the passion and commitment of the Forest supporters, it all points to one conclusion. Promotion.