Sabri Lamouchi admitted it was not a vintage Nottingham Forest performance – but said he would “sign up now” for a season of ground out wins like the 1-0 success they enjoyed over Barnsley.
The Reds boss said his players would work on the areas they need to improve, after seeing Daniel Sendel’s struggling Tykes push hard for an equaliser – with Brice Samba having to produce a three quality saves to keep them at bay.
Ben Watson’s first goal in three years was enough to secure three points at the City Ground, as the 34-year-old midfielder produced a confident 56th minute finish to convert Matty Cash’s cross.
But, while he was not completely happy with his side’s performance, Lamouchi was very pleased with the result, which came in front of a capacity crowd, on the 15th anniversary of Brian Clough’s death.
“We suffered a lot in the game, but I do not mind this when we come through the game with three points,” said Lamouchi. “The Championship is so, so tough. There are no weak opponents. We respected Barnsley today. We did not score in the first half, when we deserved to.
“It was not a fantastic performance, but it was a good result. We have a lot of experienced players and we cannot accept what happened in the final stages, when we did not control the game.
“We need to work. It was a good result. If we play like this and we win matches? I will sign up for that right now.
“We suffered a lot. We deserved to score in the first half, when we created a lot of chances. I do not know why we started in the wrong way in the second half, when Barnsley played well.
“It was an unbelievable situation in the second half, when we could not control the game, when we made mistakes and we could not make three passes in a row. But we scored in the best moment for us and this made the difference in the game.
“Three points are important, but as I told you, every game in the Championship is so difficult; so tough. It was very difficult today, but there was sacrifice and courage in our side. Our captain, Michael Dawson, was the example of that for me.
“We did do a lot of good things. We just need to be positive and we have time to discuss what we did wrong. But we have won and kept a clean sheet for the second time in a row and this is a good time for us.”
Stendel, in contrast, was very happy with his team’s performance – but understandably frustrated with the result, as Forest moved into the play-off places and left Barnsley stranded in the relegation zone.
“I cannot imagine that we can play much better than we did in the second half,” said the Barnsley boss. “It was a disappointing result but a very good performance.
“I am proud of this performance and of the attitude from my team. We created chances, we pressed in the second half and played some good passing football. We played well, but we needed to score to cap things off.
“When we conceded the goal, it was very difficult away from home – you could feel the Nottingham atmosphere as it was a special day for Nottingham.
“We have just got to work better and work harder.
“It was a great performance and I am disappointed for the players because they played with passion and applied pressure on Forest in the second half.
“We will win more games than we lose if we play as we did in the second half. I know that.”