MX23RW : Monday, January 21 22:41:12
Jan 1, 2019 at 3pm UK at ​The City Ground (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)
Attendance: 29,530
Nott'm ForestNottingham Forest
LeedsLeeds United
Colback (5', 69'), Murphy (72'), Osborn (76')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Clarke (52'), Alioski (64')
Phillips (42')

Under-pressure Aitor Karanka happy to reward Forest fans for their support

Under-pressure Aitor Karanka happy to reward Forest fans for their support
© Reuters
Forest are four points off the play-offs.

Aitor Karanka said that Nottingham Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds was payback to the Reds fans who offered him their vocal support on a dramatic day at the City Ground.

The Spaniard went into the game against the Championship leaders under some pressure following a run of five games without a win.

But Forest came back from 2-1 down to claim three precious points in spectacular fashion, against a Leeds side who had been reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of Kalvin Phillips in the 42nd minute.

Jack Colback struck first for the hosts but half-time substitute Jack Clarke and Gjanni Alioski netted to put Marcelo Bielsa's side ahead.

Yet Forest responded by scoring three times in seven minutes as Colback got his second before Daryl Murphy and Ben Osborn secured a timely victory.

And Karanka said the win was for the Forest fans who chanted his name throughout, following suggestions that the club were close to making a change in the dugout.

"The comeback was for them. Their support was amazing," he said.

"In the moments when Leeds came back, even when they scored the second one, the crowd were amazing – they supported the players.

"They supported me as well, which is nothing new. I will bore them by telling them the same thing every day; by thanking them for that.

"I told you six days ago that I cannot control the things that are out of my hands.

"The only thing I can do is my best; to try to convince this group of players that we can do something nice.

"I think it is a big result for the team. Because the team deserved to win a game like this.

"It was unfair that we had been in the kind of run we had been, without a win. In the five games where we had not won, we had played well.

"Against Preston, Derby and Norwich we played well. This performance was a reflection of how good this team is.

"This can be a turning point for the confidence of the players. When they are able to play in this way, when they have problems with injuries and you have a lot of games – the team spirit they showed was amazing."

Leeds head coach Bielsa credited his players for their effort and denied that they might have been more cautious in their approach, after taking the lead.

"We didn't lose the control of the game. I would say the opposite, that we could control the game even if we had one player less," he said.

"If you analyse the way the opponent scored the goals, they are not avoidable goals.

"That's why I don't think that we were not cautious enough. They were just counter actions that we could have avoided but they are not defining any actions.

"We had a succession of facts and all of these facts were against us.

"We had to play with one player less. We were a little bit fragile in defence but during the 90 minutes we did everything to win. The players did a very big effort.

"It's not a new fact that we have problems on set-pieces and it's also not a new fact that we make it easier sometimes for the opponent to have chances to score.

"But the game has these kind of risks and the fact that we dared to play, sometimes it has negative aspects like today but it also gave us a style of play that we should be faithful to."

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Aitor Karanka in charge of Nottingham Forest on November 28, 2018
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