Sabri Lamouchi warned Nottingham Forest they need to improve in order to gain promotion after his side returned to the Championship play-off places with a 3-1 win over Luton on Sunday.
Harry Cornick gave the visitors a deserved lead but Joe Lolley’s brace and a late penalty from Lewis Grabban secured victory for the home side at the City Ground. But Lamouchi was not impressed by his team’s sluggish start.
“The way we played the first half was not so well,” the Frenchman said. “Much better in the second half, enough to win the game. Happy with the result – to win at home in front of our fans is important – but we need to play much better than we did in the first half. The last time Nottingham Forest played the play-offs was a long time ago. I’m not so crazy to imagine something [promotion] impossible.
“Some people can start to believe but my job is just to focus on the next game and we will see where we will be. We need to play much better than now. Do you think Nottingham Forest can get promoted automatically playing like that in the first half? The answer is no.”
The visitors went in front after 23 minutes when Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu played in Dan Potts down the left and he cut the ball back from the byline to Cornick, who steered a low finish past Brice Samba. Going behind sparked Forest into life and they levelled in the 36th minute when Yuri Ribeiro sprayed a crossfield ball to the right and Lolley jinked inside before his low shot squeezed under Simon Sluga, who should have done better.
Lolley gave Forest the lead in the 57th minute when Ben Watson picked him out wide on the right and, after an excellent first touch, the 27-year-old cut inside and gave Sluga no chance with a powerful strike into the top corner. Forest’s penalty came late on after Tiago Silva’s free-kick struck Sonny Bradley’s hand in the wall and Grabban made no mistake from 12 yards.
Luton have now lost their past 11 away games in all competitions – conceding at least twice in each of them – and will surely need to end this nightmare run on the road to stand any chance of preserving their place in the second tier.