Events had taken a toll on play­ers

Nottingham Post - - SPORT -

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.

PIC­TURE: DAN WEST­WELL

Not­ting­ham For­est care­taker man­ager Si­mon Ire­land

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