Nottingham Forest’s club-record signing Joao Carvalho looked as though he may have turned a corner following his goal against Hull City last weekend, but he came unstuck in the 3-1 defeat to an Aston Villa side led by Jack Grealish in midweek.
The 22-year-old Reds man appeared to be adapting to the rigours of English football well in the first-half of the season under Aitor Karanka, but the Spaniard’s successor Martin O’Neill clearly hasn’t been happy with something he has seen.
The Portuguese attack-minded midfielder had barely been seen on the pitch in the Championship before being named in the starting XI against the Villans in midweek, but he once again flattered to deceive.
The former Benfica man would do well to look up to a player he faced on the night at The City Ground in Grealish, if he wants to be a success at Forest.
Grealish has been clearly targeted by Championship opponents so many times over the course of the previous 18 months that it’s been almost laughable, but he continues to get up and get on with things even when he is taken down illegally.
Can Forest get back to winning ways against lowly Ipswich? Matchday with Max gives us his view on their recent defeat to Villa in the video below…
He may not be of a big build, but the 23-year-old has clearly put in the work in the gym to ensure that he has ome upper body strength and isn’t easy to bundle off the ball, and that has undoubtedly helped him.
In the last few weeks especially you have seen how the Villa captain is grabbing matches by the scruff of the neck himself rather than relying on others to do so, and now Carvalho needs to replicate this.
He has the talent to match or even better Grealish at this level, and the fact that Matty Cash and Lewis Grabban weren’t on the pitch on Wednesday cannot be used as an excuse for his failures.
Bulking up a bit and being ready to mix it up with the opposition will ensure that, eventually, he will be a consistent success for Forest under O’Neill.