In a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Forest boss Dougie Freedman admitted that his team would have been lucky to come away from the Leeds game with three points in the bag.
Leeds dominated a game where Forest’s tactic was to soak up Leeds United pressure and hit the Whites on the counter, a ploy that worked well for the home team at times. However, relying on this tactic gifted Leeds dominance of possession (near 61%) and passing (536 to 353); two elements that allowed Leeds to mount waves of attacks that eventually led to Sam Byram’s 80th minute equaliser.
After taking the lead on the back of a calamitous piece of ‘defending’ from Giuseppe Bellusci and Marco Silvestri, with Nélson Oliveira profiting from the howler, Forest had to use their counter attacking game like an epee to fend off Leeds’ constant probing. However, Freedman said that the adoption of this tactic was intentional and not forced on Forest by Leeds.
Freedman, said: “I felt Leeds had very good individual players. It was a game plan that was working. Credit to Leeds, they go for 95 minutes. So I felt the only way to win the game was to kill them off, because they keep coming at you.”
After the game, there was no customary handshake between the opposing managers, which some observers took to be somewhat of a sleight and insult. However, Freedman refuted this and denied there was any controversy between the two managers that led to the non-handshake. Commenting on this, Freedman simply said, “I’m focused on my players. I felt my players needed my hand shake for the efforts they put in. I’m concentrating on my players and fans to make sure they’re alright.”
Forest will be hoping to regroup as they head to play 8th-placed Cardiff whilst Leeds face top-of-the-table Derby County in what will likely be another touch fixture.