Russell Slade’s Cardiff City debut ended in victory for the home side ending Forest's eleven-game unbeaten run, leaving Bluebirds supporters jubilant as the team battled to seal the win.
Fabio’s late exclusion due to illness meant 21-year-old Joe Ralls was required at left-back, the youngster acquitting himself well throughout the contest – even though he was only informed of his role a little over an hour before kickoff: “The manager spoke to me before we went out and warned me that Fabio was not feeling too great, within ten minutes it was confirmed.”
Forest did manage to grab a goal to produce a nail-biting finish though Cardiff’s makeshift defence worked well as a unit to retain the lead.
“Michail Antonio is rapid and put us under a lot of pressure”, Joe revealed. “It was obviously going to be hard because they were going for it – to win the game – but we were happy to sit back and hit them on the counter.
“Russell spoke before the game about our season starting now. That’s what we are trying to do really – build from here. It is our first game under the regime and it was a good start.”
Speaking about Slade’s influence in the club since arriving, Ralls was full of praise for the new gaffer.
“He has brought a game-plan”, said Joe. “We have worked hard over the last few weeks, not being able to play games. It has been good for us because it has allowed us to get a lot of training in, work to be hard to break down and when we attack, do so in a good shape. I think we displayed our qualities well today bar conceding the goal.
“He has made training his own and put across his own ideas. I think the boys are really enjoying it at the moment. Everybody has put in a lot of effort – we had to graft, they are a good side.
“We had a few injuries but you get that in football. We are all happy to play where we’re put and do what we can for the team. This season we’ve had some really good performances over 45 or 60 minutes but today we worked hard all game.
“We have a big squad with great players and a lot of quality. The Championship is about taking it game-by-game, seeing how far it takes you. We’ve had a good start here and we have a few games coming up so if we can get some results and move us upward it stands us in good stead.”