Ever since Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side, dismantled Liverpool’s title run back in 2014, the term ‘parking the bus’ has been coined many a time by pundits and armchair critics alike.
Since then the debate surrounding footballing philosophy have intensified – comparing and contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of attacking adventurism and fluidity played the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool with more rigid, conservative tactics used by Manchester United for example.
Often it has been known for the underdog, particularly when playing away from home, to adopt the latter – to sit tight, absorb the pressure with men behind the ball, patiently wait for opposition mistakes to launch a speedy, counter attack.
It has had its rewards – just ask our neighbours 40 minutes down the M1 – but it can also make for dull viewing.
Of course, it is not meant to be pretty and pleasant to watch, conserving results is the aim not the performance; however when teams with this defensive attitude to the City Ground, it can make for frustrating viewing.
Considering all the hype and expectation built up during the summer thanks to our busy transfer window, there was perhaps just an assumption amongst the Reds’ fanbase that Forest could simply brush teams aside effortlessly – due to the quality we had recruited (and still are recruiting).
This attitude, particularly when playing at home, fails to acknowledge the attitude, preparation and fear that teams will have when travelling to face Forest’s attacking prowess.
Not so much in the cup, as we saw with the first half dismantling of Stoke on Wednesday night, but since the start of the season teams have come with the intention not to lose as oppose to going for the three points – virtually perching themselves on the banks of the River Trent, clawing on for dear life.
Many times, this has allowed for patient, if not a little underwhelming viewing, for large spells of the game – with only flashes of real dominant, threatening spells of attacking pressure, getting Aitor Karanka’s men over the line.
Inferior teams like Reading and Rotherham have proven this, as they made life difficult for Forest’s creative players to shine, despite having very little of the ball.
Games against West Bromwich Albion and to a degree Sheffield Wednesday, have shown the Reds capabilities to pull apart teams despite their negative attitude when visiting the City Ground – showing signs of settling into their top gear.
It does just seem a shame with such a record year already in ticket sales and attendance, that the excitement of fans cannot be mirrored by a free flowing, entertaining, end to end game on the pitch.
Tactics and method however, have come to outweigh the want for ‘edge of the seat’ – besides, if it still earns Forest a decent league finish, I will not be complaining come of the season.
What it must not be allowed to do, is to limit the atmosphere of the City Ground from lifting the Forest team to its full potential – patience may be required, long after the 90 minutes are up.