Kinnear praises his defenders

NOTTINGHAM Forest boss Joe Kinnear was grateful for the perfect Portman Road pitch that totally suited his tactics, writes Derek Davis.The Reds arrived hoping to snatch a draw but went away with a welcome victory, which virtually assured them of First Division football next season.

NOTTINGHAM Forest boss Joe Kinnear was grateful for the perfect Portman Road pitch that totally suited his tactics, writes Derek Davis.

The Reds arrived hoping to snatch a draw but went away with a welcome victory, which virtually assured them of First Division football next season. Kinnear said: "We came here with a game plan to go and play and go for it and we did.

"That was as good as we have been. We have put out some dogged performances at home when we have been nervy because we were frightened to get beat.

"But we spoke about that and the pitch was perfect, so lent itself for us to play good football, which is what we did.


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"We had to deal with a siege late on but before that we created a couple of chances and Johnno has again come up trumps and scored a magnificent goal."

Kinnear reserved special praise for goal ace David Johnson and defenders Michael Dawson and Wes Morgan.

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He said: "The two centre-halves were magnificent. There were going to serious questions asked of us by Ipswich and it was never going to be easy but we hung on.

"The second goal was a classic breakaway goal. It was great to have Johnno back. He has a nous for a goal. He knows how to finish. He is brave, not as sharp as he could be but he did more than enough."

Dean Bowditch scored an equaliser before Johnson's winner and Forest then withstood a Town onslaught for the final third of the game.

Kinnear said: "We just shaded it.

"It must have been a terrific game to watch, particularly the first half, although we got nervous in the second.

"We defended too deeply and allowed them to lump it in. It was obvious they were going to give us an aerial attack and we just hoped nothing would break for them to finish off."

Forest need a point to be mathematically sure of staying up but have a plus 20 goal difference over third-from-bottom Walsall and Kinnear is convinced they will not go down.

He said: "I can safely say we are safe and we are staying up so it is mission accomplished.

"It is a relief that we have done it. It is a massive pressure off me."

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