Sabri Lamouchi praised the spirit of his Nottingham Forest players after they had played with 10 men for more than 30 minutes of a closely-fought Championship clash with Bristol City.
The visitors had looked the better side until midfielder Ryan Yates picked up a straight red card from referee Craig Pawson on 56 minutes for a challenge on Adam Nagy, which provoked an angry reaction from City players.
From then on City poured forward in search of a winner, but were unable to create many clear openings against determined and well-organised opponents.
The hosts hit a post through Andreas Weimann’s deflected cross on 55 minutes, but were relieved when Forest’s Lewis Grabban volleyed wide with only Dan Bentley to beat 18 minutes later.
Both sides attacked with promise throughout an open game, but it was Forest, backed by 2,300 vociferous travelling fans, who carried the greater threat, particularly in the first half.
Lamouchi said: “I am so proud of my players. Ryan has made a mistake with the tackle that saw him sent off and I can see why the referee made the decision.
“It was not an aggressive challenge, but more the result of enthusiasm, which isn’t a bad thing to see in a young player.
“He was very angry and upset with himself after the game because he knew what he did could have cost us an important result.
“But the important thing is that he learns from it. Today the other players have made sure we didn’t lose with 10 men and that is good for him.
“We deserved our point and missed one very good chance to take all three. As always, the support from our fans was incredible.
“Bristol City changed things and threw more men forward after the sending-off, so we had to defend really well. The spirit shown by the players was fantastic.
“Bristol have a lot of very positive and talented attacking players. But we restricted them and our goalkeeper did not have to make many saves.”
Despite not making the most of having an extra man, Lee Johnson was not too down on his Bristol City side.
“I didn’t get a clear view of the sending-off, but I’m told it was a two-footed challenge, so I don’t think they could have any complaints,” he said.
“Forest are a very good side and I expect them to be up there challenging when it matters most. We lacked a bit with our end product today, but overall I was delighted with the performance.
“A number of our lads only got back from international duty on Thursday, yet there was no sign of any tiredness or lapses in concentration.
“We tweaked one or two things tactically at half-time, which had an effect, and in the second half we got into some great positions without testing their goalkeeper enough. We put so many crosses in without getting a final touch.
“That was the one disappointment. But we are gradually getting key players back from injury and there is a lot to look forward to.
“We are still a young and developing side and there is so much more to come from us. We came up against very tough opponents this afternoon.
“The players are giving me everything and I have no criticism of them today. We now move on to West Brom in midweek and will go there in confident mood.”
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