Nottingham Forest were defeated 2-0 by Birmingham City on Saturday in a game which proved to be a decent learning curve for new boss Martin O’Neill.

The Reds were beaten by goals from Jota and Che Adams and the manager will be looking for an improvement from his charges when they face Brentford next weekend.

One conundrum that could now be cracked is that of Joao Carvalho.

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The Portuguese attacker has been forced to wait patiently for a chance to shine under O’Neill and was handed his first opportunity for the last 20 minutes of the reverse at St Andrew’s.

The 21-year-old was at his creative best and carved out Forest’s best opportunities to score a goal late on.

The club’s record signing has netted three goals and claimed six assists in his maiden campaign in English football.

Carvalho is technically one of the best players in the division; making his recent omission from the team surprising.

If O’Neill learned anything from Saturday’s defeat it will be that Carvalho is the man who can provide Forest’s attack with the relevant service to score goals.

 

Forest found the way to goal in the last home game against Wigan and that has to continue when Brentford arrive on Saturday.

The Bees will provide a sterner test than Paul Cook’s men did and the Reds need to be ready.

Unleashing Carvalho from the off is likely to get the City Ground rocking and that atmosphere could be key to a massive three points.

Learning on the job is never an easy thing to do, but O’Neill should now be totally aware of Carvalho’s quality.