Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka is eager to avoid any confusion when it comes to his methods of delivering a winning team.

The Spaniard has established a reputation for making his sides hard to beat, with Middlesbrough promoted in 2015/16 with the best defensive record in the Championship.

That blueprint for success is now being replicated at the City Ground, with only two sides in the second tier this season having been breached on fewer occasions than the Reds.

Karanka is aware that he could be accused of ‘parking the bus’, but claims such criticism overlooks the finer points of his plan.

He told Goal of his footballing philosophy: “That question is very trendy now: the style, the possession, the physical game.

“In the end, coming from where I come from, playing where I played and with my experience training in the Spanish youth teams and Real Madrid, what you want as a coach is that your team has a set style, and that your team tries to win.

Playing well

“Many times there are people ‘selling’ stories, but in the end you have to win.

“In trying to do that, the better players you have, the better you can play. And obviously the style that I like is to win by playing well.

“Many times, people confuse having an organised team with being defensive. And many times I have had that experience.

“For example with Boro, you cannot play in the same way when you are promoted to the Premier League and you have the same Championship players. You have to change.

(Photo by Rachel Holborn – CameraSport via Getty Images)

“And it is important that the team knows more ways to play, and that the coach has more to offer to his players.

 

“It is vital that, as a coach, you make your players better. Because improving them individually is how they all will improve as a team.”

Karanka has made his mark at the City Ground, with Forest – aided by some sizeable investment – having shrugged off relegation fears to rekindle promotion dreams.

The Reds’ boss has ridden this rollercoaster before and admits that the passion for football at all levels in England continues to amaze him.

Something crazy

He added: “When you get here, you realise it’s something crazy.

“This year we have 22,500 season ticket holders, the average attendance is around 28,000 spectators per game.

“You are going to play away and there is an average of 21,000 spectators at the stadiums, even the other day against Aston Villa there were 41,000.

“I think there’s a lot of difference if you compare it with the Spanish Second Division.”

While embracing life in the Championship, Karanka intends to deliver another top tier experience in the not too distant future.

He has a plan in place and will not be deviating from it regardless of how he may be perceived from afar.