Nottingham Post

Injured Boly may prove to be big miss at the back

- By SARAH CLAPSON @Sarah_clapson

INJURIES and absences have hampered Nottingham Forest at various times this season. And it has been argued the loss of Willy Boly has been felt more than most.

The centre-back suffered an injury while on duty for Ivory Coast last month and has not featured for the Reds since. Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has said he does not know when the 33-year-old might return.

Boly’s unavailabi­lity was a point of discussion on the Nottingham Post’s Garibaldi Red podcast this week as the topic of set-pieces cropped up.

It came after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Wolverhamp­ton Wanderers, when Matheus Cunha scored his second goal of the afternoon from a corner to make it a league-high 22 goals conceded from dead-ball situations for Forest.

Reds fan Max Scott said of the Reds’ Achilles’ heel: “Everybody involved has got to take responsibi­lity.

“Of course coaches need to sort that out but there comes a point on the pitch where, if you’ve conceded that many, eventually you just start taking control of the situation.

“If they’ve told you to defend it zonally and you know that it’s not working, then you go man-to-man or vice versa.

“It needs leaders on the pitch. Murillo’s a fabulous player but I don’t necessaril­y think he’s that leader yet because he’s so young, he’s in a new country, new language. I don’t think we can expect him to do even more than he currently is.

“I’m thinking who is it that’s shouting, who is it that’s commanding in the box and putting bodies on the line every single corner when it happens? The players need to take responsibi­lity, but the coaches need to sort it out.

“It is embarrassi­ng. It’s embarrassi­ng for a top-level football team in the Premier League to be so weak and vulnerable from set-pieces.

“And it’s now a thing, isn’t it? It’s now a thing that when Forest concede a corner, the Forest fans’ mentality changes. But now the opposition fans know how bad we are and so there’s this double jeopardy where the feeling around the stadium changes and it (a goal) just feels inevitable.

“I can’t imagine it’s for a lack of effort or a lack of trying. It’s just not good enough. But saying they need to sort it out is the most obvious thing anyone’s ever said.”

Forest supporter Dave Astbury added: “I think if we’d seen more of Willy Boly, that would have made a difference.

“I watched a video where Woody (Chris Wood) was asked to describe all his squad mates in one word. When he got to Willy Boly, he just said, father. I get the impression Willy’s a leader in the group.

“The only time Willy’s played recently was at Luton. At Luton, Willy played really well. Willy played at Luton and we were the better team. We looked really calm at the back, and Willy brings that calm.

“Willy might not be as good as he was, but Willy used his experience. That day against Luton, until Willy went off, we looked really solid at the back. We haven’t seen him since.

“I think he reads the game better than a lot of people give him credit for. He’s obviously good in the air. I think he’s been pretty solid for us when he’s played. Unfortunat­ely, he’s like a few of ours, they’re on the treatment table more than they’re on the grass.

“If Willy had played more, I still think we would have been not great at set-pieces but we might have been better than the 22 (conceded). It’s now the glaring, glowing sore thumb that everybody in the country knows about. It’s a shameful thing, really. You ask for self-awareness among the squad.

“Andy Omobamidel­e is going to be a hell of a player. I really like that kid – unassuming, quiet, elegant. Not the full package yet but he’s going to be a good player.

“If we were to drop to the Championsh­ip, Andy Omobamidel­e would be one of the best players in that division and he would really develop. Hopefully, we’ll stay in this league and Andy will get better.

“I think Andy’s got a great future. I like him a lot. But I just think replace either of them (Omobamidel­e or Murillo) with Willy, it might have been better. Not saying it’d be brilliant but it might not have been as catastroph­ic.

“It’s such a gaping wound. Everton, Sheffield United, Burnley, Manchester City and Chelsea will be thinking, let’s take a big packet of salt with us and pour it in Forest’s gaping set-piece wound.

“They’ll all know it. If we concede a corner at Bramall Lane, that lot will be on it in a flash.”

 ?? PIC: PA ?? Willy Boly has words with Luton Town’s Jordan Clark during last month’s Premier League clash. That was Boly’s last appearance for Nottingham Forest.
PIC: PA Willy Boly has words with Luton Town’s Jordan Clark during last month’s Premier League clash. That was Boly’s last appearance for Nottingham Forest.

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