If you were to pick one fault from Nottingham Forest through the opening weeks of the 2019-20 campaign, then it would be their penchant for slow starts.

This is not an entirely new source of frustration.

It is, however, one that Sabri Lamouchi needs to address.

And he acknowledges as much.

The Frenchman is as puzzled as everyone else when it comes to stumbles out of the blocks.

Another was made across 45 minutes against Preston.

Lamouchi told the club’s official website in the wake of that contest: “We must take time to learn why we were so poor in the first half. Maybe the players were a little bit tired or maybe it is more than that, we must see.

“We made a plan for the first half but unfortunately that plan was wrong and that is my responsibility.”

It is commendable to see the man calling the shots shouldering a share of the blame.

He does, after all, name the side which takes to the field.

Admitting to getting something “wrong” takes courage.

Learner

Image Credit: Nottingham Forest

Lamouchi has already shown that he is a quick learner.

He is unlikely to make the same mistake twice, which suggests that further tactical and selection tweaks will be on the way.

The pack has been shuffled to this point.

A mixed bag has been delivered.

There has been plenty of promise, such as league and cup showings against Birmingham and Derby and a notable victory away at Fulham.

Three of the four first-half goals Forest have netted in the Championship this season were recorded in games mentioned above.

Positive openings have delivered impressive results.

The only anomaly was Matty Cash’s early effort on the opening day against West Brom.

If Forest start well, then they have tended to kick on.

In contrast, uphill battles have been fought when starting slowly.

The good news is that something has been salvaged from meetings with Leeds, Charlton and Preston.

Not all that long ago, Forest would have been left empty-handed in all of those fixtures.

Dogged

 

There is now a dogged determination within the ranks.

And an acceptance on the bench that changes need to be made at the right time in order to influence proceedings.

Lamouchi, by hook or by crook, has found a way of digging out results.

There has been an element of good fortune along the way, but you make your own luck.

If only he could eradicate the inconsistency.

To counter the four goals they have in first halves this season, the Reds have managed five in the second.

They create more chances (26 to 31), put in more crosses (45 to 54), attempt more dribbles (45 to 60) and deliver a marked leap from 16 to 34 when it comes to shots fired in.

Lamouchi’s men are giving themselves more of a chance after the break.

There is not much of a difference when it comes to statistics regarding passing, tackling, winning the ball back, shots faced etc, with it clearly a matter of intent.

Forest, on the whole, offer more after a half-time team talk.

If they can start doing the same when first sent into battle, then Sabri-ball really will be a spectacle to behold.