Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka expressed satisfaction with a point on Saturday afternoon after watching his side play out an entertaining and competitive 0-0 draw with Stoke City.
Both teams will feel like they had chances to win the contest, Forest were denied late on by two exceptional saves from Jack Butland whilst at the other end, Saido Berahino missed a gilt-edge chance for the visitors before Peter Crouch saw his last-minute header cleared off the line by Tobias Figueiredo.
Speaking post-match, Karanka declared a point was a good result as his side stretched their unbeaten run to four games.
“Today was one of those type of games where if you can’t win it, at least do not lose,” said the former Middlesbrough manager.
“I think the performance, once again, has been really good.
“You look at their squad, and who’s starting for them, they’ve got an international team player like Jack Butland and it’s the same for Benik Afobe or Peter Crouch.
“I think for us it’s good to compete against this kind of team. The last two weeks we’ve played face-to-face against three very good teams so it’s good to keep going and keep improving.”
There was a definite improvement in the second half, not only from Karanka’s men but also in terms of the general quality of the game. Reflecting afterwards, Karanka believes the Reds showed their visitors too much respect at times in those opening stages.
“In the first half, we showed a lot of respect to them because they were Premier League players. We were more concerned with them rather than playing our style.
“At half time I told them, we had to play our style, we had to be brave, we had to earn the three points and the second half was much better.
“We kept a consistency in our defending and we were braver when we had the ball and with the players we have, it’s easier.”
One of the big talking points before the game was Karanka’s decision to drop Claudio Yacob after his impressive debut against Sheffield United last time out and instead bring back the returning Jack Colback. Yacob did come on as a late substitute and Karanka explained his decision after the game.
“It’s true that Claudio played really well the last game but we can’t forget the 30-35 games that Jack Colback has played for us and everything he’s done for this team.
“I knew that Jack was going to be really motivated for the game and Claudio knows he will get his chance, as he did for the last 10-15 minutes.”