Martin O’Neil has become the latest manager not to be given time to be judged fairly by the Forest Board. This time it has been suggested that some of the players were not happy with O’Neil and let the board know their feelings. The identity of the players and what exactly they were unhappy about remains unknown but given how Lewis Grabban’s and Joao Carvalho’s times under O’Neil went then they are strong candidates, Adlene Guediora is another name some have suggested was involved. Whether they were right to complain or just be professional and get on with their jobs is also up for debate. On one hand players won’t perform to their best if they are not happy and on the other the manager is in charge and his way goes. Therefore for the change to be made we must assume the members of the board agreed with what the players were saying, we can also assume they were having the same thoughts for a while as the new man was through the door immediately.
The New Man at the helm is unknown quantity Sabri Lamouchi, Who is he? Was the question on many forest fans lips upon the announcement, well Lamouchi was most recently in charge of Rennes in the French top flight, taking them from the relegation places to qualify for the Europa League in 2017-18. He also led the Ivory Coast to the 2014 World Cup as the top-ranked side in Africa and the quarter-finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, that side contained the likes of Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba therefore those achievements were not good enough and he lost that job because of it. One positive has emerged from his appointment and that is he plays an Aitor Karanka style 4-2-3-1 formation, which the players performed better using and are used to therefore the transition should be fairly straight forward. Although the Nottingham Evening Post have said at Rennes, the Frenchman enjoyed playing different variations of a 4-5-1 and a 4-4-2 formation, deploying the tactic in 56 percent of his sides matches across all competitions. The post also added he didn’t tend to over-focus on dominating possession of the ball – they ranked 11th in the division in terms of ball possession with an average of 48 percent. However, they did rank third in the division in terms of highest number of passes into the final third and fourth in terms of highest number of progressive runs. Whilst Lamouchi’s record in terms of attack suggests there is work to be done at Forest next season, his ability to create a sturdy defence looks guaranteed. With him at the helm, only PSG, Lyon and Montpellier conceded fewer goals than Rennes total of 29 goals.
Guy Moussi, who knows the new Forest manager well from his time in French football has said appointing Sabri Lamouchi is akin to Derby recruiting Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard heading to Rangers and Zinedine Zidane’s revival of Real Madrid. Moussi is convinced Lamouchi is a man who will command respect in the Forest dressing room, because of what he has achieved in the game.
French football expert Julien Laurens says Sabri Lamouchi’s man management style gives him the potential to be a success with Forest. “He had a very good career as a player, he was a very intelligent midfielder who was very hard working,” Laurens told BBC5Live. “Lamouchi’s playing career saw him play for European giants Lyon and the former French international, Inter and Marseille But he is someone who is very demanding with his own players, who plays quite attractive football, even though he is quite pragmatic in how he wants his teams to play.”
Still the anguish from forest fans would’ve been less tempered if an experienced championship manager like Chris Houghton was brought in. The last time Forest appointed an unknown foreign manager it was Phillip Montanier which was a complete disaster and almost ended in relegation. However who knows he could be the next Nuno Espírito Santo, only time will tell. However one thing is for sure Forest need stability and I was more confident of that under O’Neil despite some of his tactics at least he knew the British game and forest inside out.
The timing was out of the blue and leaves just over a month for him to stamp his authority, but better to make the change now than once the season has started. As for what players Forest may bring in during the transfer window this is now a complete mystery and who and why did they sanction the signing of Sammy Ameobi?