“(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.
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.