Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi praised his side for producing their “best performance” of the season but has tempered talk of automatic promotion from the SkyBet Championship.
A stunning 12-yard volley in the 56th minute from Ben Watson, deputising as captain for the second straight game in the absence of the injured Michael Dawson, was enough to give Forest a 1-0 victory over Brentford at the City Ground and lift the club up to second in the table, level on points with new leaders West Brom.
After playing six games in 22 days in all competitions, Lamouchi said: “I’m so impressed, to be honest. It’s been an amazing month, with the game today unbelievable.
“Everyone played for the team, very concentrated, patient, respecting the plan. We scored at a good time, and maybe we could have scored a second to finish with less pressure, but what a performance.
“It was a huge performance. We have been working together for three months now, and for me, that was the best performance. It’s what I said to the players after the game.
“Everyone gave their best for the team, the team all fought together, created a lot, didn’t give a lot away to the opponents. We deserve this victory, and we deserve to be where we are.”
It is now 10 league games unbeaten since an opening-day defeat at home to West Brom, yet despite Forest’s form and their lofty position, Lamouchi is refusing to get carried away.
Asked if he saw his side as automatic promotion contenders, Lamouchi replied: “No, come on!
“I’m happy to be where we are now because maybe I have more time to work, and they give me more confidence. It means players, the club, fans, all the people around the club can maybe trust a bit more.
“I’m just focused on my job, the next couple of games, the five we have before the next international break. We go step by step.
“To talk about promotion, it’s impossible for the fans, the club, maybe. It’s like this every year because this club deserves the best.”
Watson’s strike was his second winner in successive home games after also scoring the decisive strike in a 1-0 victory over Barnsley a fortnight ago that ended a three-and-a-half-year drought.
It was a goal of exceptional quality that condemned the Bees to a third 1-0 away defeat this season.
Boss Thomas Frank said: “We’re a team that’s so much more solid and structured (compared to last season), a team that goes away from home and wants to dominate from the first minute.
“I’ve only been disappointed with one away performance and that was the (2-0) defeat to Preston.
“We are definitely on the right track. Defensively we are far better than we were last year, so offensively is where we need to improve because today we lacked quality, sharpness, freshness from our offensive players.”