Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill says that club-record signing Joao Carvalho needs to fight for his spot in the starting XI, according to quotes via The Nottingham Post, and Reds fans have been quick to react on Twitter.
The 66-year-old was speaking ahead of his side’s Championship clash against Wigan Athletic at The City Ground on Saturday, where he will be looking to pick up his first points in charge having been beaten 1-0 by Bristol City at home on his bow.
Carvalho joined Forest for £13.2m, as per BBC, during the summer transfer window, and had been a regular in the side under previous boss Aitor Karanka, but he was relegated to the substitutes’ bench against Reading and then in O’Neill’s first game at the helm.
The switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 formation certainly hasn’t helped the 21-year-old, who has primarily made an impact through the middle behind the striker so far this term, scoring three goals and providing a further six assists in 26 league outings, as per Transfermarkt.
Speaking on Thursday, via The Nottingham Post, the former Republic of Ireland boss said: “I think he is a very talented footballer.
“I think that, despite some very early promise, he is still getting used to the real demands of this league.
“He has definite talent, no question of that and, like anything else, it is up to him to fight his way into the side, hopefully.
“It is up to him to hopefully believe he will get a chance to play. I am sure during the coming weeks that could easily happen.”
Nottingham Forest supporters took to Twitter to have their say on the quotes, and while one said “O’Neill hasn’t got a clue about his squad”, another labelled O’Neill as “absolutely deluded”.
Here is just a selection of the Twitter reaction…
Absolutely deluded. If there's one player who doesn't need to fight for his place and should be the first name on the team sheet, it's Carvalho….
— Martyn Gray (@mgray11) January 25, 2019
Think he’s adapted quite well to the championship. Ridiculous if he’s not played
— Jack Smylie (@Inthetop1_nffc) January 25, 2019
He’s right in a way, he is still adapting and finding his feet but he’s still a class above anything else we have, imagine how good he’ll be once he’s fully settled.
— Gary (@RedDogGary) January 25, 2019
So doesn’t look like he’s starting tomorrow
— Craig Moore ?⚪️⚽️ (@crag06) January 25, 2019
He should be saying ‘I’m going to build the team around him’ not making excuses not to pick him #NFFC
— Will Broome (@williambroome) January 25, 2019
WOW! Hes our Best Playmaker by a Country Mile hes 21 years old first season in a Tough Championship League in Colder Climates than Portugal, I think he’s done Brilliant so far the only player with a Real Edge of Class who can Change a Game by One Pass Crazy!
— Marc ‘Smurf’ Twaite (@MarcTwaite) January 25, 2019
What a shambles! Think Bielsa needs to give him a few tips on analysing our games this season. He needs and should be starting every game
— Macca (@Macca_261) January 25, 2019
Has he watched any dvds of the season? He’s done enough already, should be straight back in
— Chris Baxter (@Bacca1982) January 25, 2019
O’Neil hasnt got a clue about his squad
— JJ (@KXNGDXM_CXME) January 25, 2019
He should build his team around him even at 50% he’s a class above anyone else and only going to get better. Need to be starting sat especially after a flat awful performance last week from most of the squad.
— Jeff (@gingerjeffs) January 25, 2019
Pathetic that. Look forward to seeing Murphy on Saturday again.
— NFFC (@NottinghamRed99) January 25, 2019
This is immensely frustrating – he’s not adapting to life in the Championship, that’s a tired cliche about young players moving here. He’s already proved he can more than cope. With all respect to Murphy, starting him ahead of Carvalho is just mad.
— frigginell (@NewRadicools) January 25, 2019
What a load of rubbish,you put your best players on the pitch
— Nick Roberts ?? (@NoddyRoberts1) January 25, 2019
O’Neill is suspicious of creative players. This is already reminiscent of his treatment of Wes Hoolahan with the Irish team. Looked for any excuse to leave him out despite us being demonstrably better with him in the side.
— Justin O’Hanlon (@rpdarkhorse) January 25, 2019
And we never saw him again. Sounds like O’Neill is going to crush the life out of him.
— Ells (@dick_ee) January 25, 2019
Martin O’Neill’s managerial return to Nottingham Forest didn’t go according to plan. Check out Matchday with Max’s gameday vlog in the video below…