Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi was delighted with the perfect birthday gift as his team beat Derby County 1-0 at the City Ground.
Lewis Grabban capitalised on Jayden Bogle’s mistake as he got the 56th-minute winner, to ensure Lamouchi was able to celebrate turning 48 today in style.
“Of course, it’s a great gift,” said Lamouchi. “It was an emotional game and for that reason, maybe the first half wasn’t the best.
“The second half was much better. They made a big mistake and our striker, Grabbs, played a fantastic game one more time with great finishing, like killer finishing. That is what we wanted to see from him.”
Lamouchi had to break off his interview briefly as his phone went off.
“Sorry, it is my birthday. Everybody wants to give me a gift,” he joked. “Seriously, before the international break to play an important game like this, it’s important to be compact, focused and committed.
“At the end, I think we deserved this victory.”
Lamouchi insists Forest went for the win as they introduced Joao Carvalho, Albert Adomah and Brennan Johnson late on in pursuit of a second goal.
“The second half we played for the three points. After the goal we tried to score the second one,” he said. “It was a fantastic game, a fantastic result and a fantastic day.
“We put on Joao (Carvalho), Albert (Adomah) and Brennan (Johnson), so I only put on offensive players to try and score another. I’m happy because we’ve made our fans happy and proud of our players, our performance.
“This is very important.”
Forest now head into the international break with Lamouchi looking for improvement from his team, who are sat comfortably in the top six.
“We will enjoy our rest now with family. We want to enjoy the result and my birthday also. It’s a great result, a great victory. The clean sheet is nice. When we play with this attitude and character, we can still play much better, but the second half, it was totally different to the first.”
Opposing boss Phillip Cocu felt Derby deserved more than to leave the City Ground empty-handed, following a game in which Brice Samba had to produce a number of big saves, including a superb one to deny Tom Lawrence in the first half.
“In the big games, in many games but especially in games like this, a detail, a mistake, bad judgement or sometimes class can make the difference,” Cocu said.
“Today, the mistake of Jayden cost us the result.
“That is tough because I think we played quite a good game.
“We had good presence and played good football over a large part of the game.
“We created a good few opportunities, and deserved more than a 1-0 loss.”
Derby are still without an away win in the League since the opening fixture of the season against Huddersfield. The Rams last six away games have brought them only two points.
They also suffered a blow when central defender Matt Clarke limped off after only 15 minutes of the game with a knee problem, the seriousness of which is yet to be determined.
Cocu said: “It does not look good. Defensively we were strong, it is just a pity we lost Matt early on. We had to get Krystian Bielik from his midfield position, but I think we did well.
“We played good football, there was a great chance on goal for Tom Lawrence but their goalkeeper made the save. An individual mistake by Jayden, in the end, cost us the game.
“We tried everything to get the equaliser and we were close. We just didn’t have the luck to score.”
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