Events had taken a toll on players
SIMON Ireland believes the events of the last 24 hours caught up with Nottingham Forest, as they produced their worst performance of the season at Reading.
The Reds were comfortably beaten by their hosts, who had failed to win any of their previous 11 games, on a day when both Danny Fox and Tendayi Darikwa were shown red cards to leave Forest with nine men.
Forest had hoped for a positive start to the post-aitor Karanka era, after his departure was confirmed on Friday morning.
But caretaker boss Ireland felt everything surrounding the change in management took a psychological toll on the Reds players.
“I just think it has almost been an over-exuberance; a desire to say ‘let’s go out and win the game’. Sometimes you just have to keep calm,” said Ireland.
“They wanted to go out, for the club and the owners, and say ‘we are moving forward’.
“What has happened, has happened. The owners have been fantastic. They spoke to the players, they spoke to me and they had the confidence in me to take the team and select the team.
“In these circumstances, emotions can just boil over. I thought we had chances; we had chances even when we had been down to 10 men. I don’t think this was anything to do with a lack of effort.
“In the end, I just think the last 24 hours has taken a toll on the players.
“I don’t think it is a case of not being mentally ready. But the psychological aspect of the game is huge.”
Ireland revealed that Fox and Darikwa had both apologised in the dressing room.
Fox was shown a second yellow card after getting involved in an ugly melee following a foul by Daryl Murphy, while Darikwa was shown a straight red, following a lunging challenge late on.
“They are a good set of lads and it is a good dressing room. But at the end of the day, it is a difficult situation for them to deal with, so close to the game,” said Ireland.
“There is a lot of experience in the squad and they have been fantastic for me and the rest of the staff. But situations like this do have an effect on you.
“Danny and Tendayi apologised to myself and to the other players. It was out of character for them to get involved.
“Danny was on a yellow card and then got involved in an argument with the referee. Tendayi’s, I thought, was a little bit harsh, although I have not watched it back. For me it was a yellow.
“We are just disappointed.” Ireland did offer an apology to the 2,000 Forest fans.
“I’d like to take the chance to apologise to the supporters, who have come a long way and pay good money,” he said.
Nottingham Forest caretaker manager Simon Ireland