Nottingham Forest's Aitor Karanka expresses surprise at Middlesbrough's team selection

Aitor Karanka, Manager of Nottingham Forest looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion at City Ground on August 7, 2018 in...

Nottingham Forest beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium Saturday.

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka says he expected Middlesbrough to be more physical and direct, as his side ran out 2-0 winners at the Riverside Stadium, the Gazette report.

“(The selection) was a surprise. They won on Tuesday with the same team, I was expecting a more physical team to play today,” Karanka explained.

“When I saw the (Middlesbrough) team I was not more confident because I know how good they are, but when we play - and I think it was the same here - when we play teams who like to play we are really organised and we have problems with teams that play long balls.”

 

Will Tony Pulis regret naming an unchanged line-up?

Middlesbrough started with the same starting XI that comfortably beat Ipswich Town 2-0 at Portman Road in midweek, with Mo Besic getting the nod ahead of Adam Clayton.

Nottingham Forest, however, are a different proposition to Ipswich, and the Reds this season have generally struggled when up against direct teams who play in their faces – being restricted to draws with Millwall, Blackburn and Wigan.

Tony Pulis is renowned for setting his sides up to be direct and to put high balls into the box, but against Nottingham Forest Middlesbrough surprisingly ended up with the lion’s share of the possession.

Boro manager Tony Pulis during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final First Leg match between Middlesbrough and Aston Villa at Riverside Stadium on May 12, 2018 in Middlesbrough,...

Nottingham Forest were solid defensively throughout, aided by Boro’s slow build-up approach and their inability to push their wide players forward to create crossing opportunities for the forwards.

Middlesbrough’s lack of intensity could have been down to tiredness after playing away in midweek, which begs the question why Pulis didn’t make changes against a Forest side eager to impress for Karanka.

Middlesbrough's Spanish manager Aitor Karanka gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium in...

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