Stuart Pearce has told his Nottingham Forest players they cannot hide from the challenge of reviving their fortunes in the Championship, warning: ‘We have to come out fighting’ after Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-0 success piled on more misery at the City Ground.
The Reds are in danger of seeing their promotion challenge turn into a relegation fight amid a dismal run of just two wins in 20 games in all competitions.
Owls boss Stuart Gray is close friends with the Forest management team but put them under more pressure as goals from Kieran Lee and Chris Maguire helped the visitors to an easy three points at the City Ground.
“We are suffering a lack of confidence at the minute, but I told the players that we cannot feel sorry for ourselves. I certainly can’t,” said Pearce.
“We are going to have to work hard and work through this. Last week we thought things were tough then, all of a sudden, you feel even more depressed. But it is important that the group do not hide.
“They need to come out fighting in the way that Ben Osborn did in the second half. I thought he showed great vim and vigour and if there is anyone we need to look to - and I include myself in that - it is him. He was unshakable.
“I do have the confidence that we can turn this around. The nature of football is so volatile that things can change very quickly. We need a victory and we need one soon, to turn our fortunes around at this time. I am more disappointed for the fans than myself.
“It was very frustrating, there was not a lot in the first half but then they broke from a corner and we find ourselves 1-0 down. It hurt us and it hurt our confidence a little bit. We never got that back.”
Gray felt that his side should have heaped even more misery on Forest with Wednesday missing a few clear cut chances after they had gone 2-0 up early in the second half.
“I am stood here thinking that we should have won 4-0 with the chances we created,” he said. “The most important thing is that we did not want to give Forest a sniff. We wanted to turn their crowd against the team.
“They are low on confidence at the moment and we wanted to exploit that. We were at it from the off. The timing of the first goal gave us a lift and disappointed the home crowd, coming just before half time.
“I knew that Stuart would want to get a reaction from his players in the second half, but we got another goal and credit to our players because, as I said, we could have ended up with a bigger win.”