Simon Cox believes Nottingham Forest deserve more credit for their character
IT is issued with a smile, but it still has the distinct air of a mild chastisement.
While a thumping 6-1 win over Huddersfield and a victory at Charlton – that was far more emphatic than the 2-0 scoreline might have suggested – garnered effusive headlines, Simon Cox remains convinced that a result that deserved just as much credit was allowed to sneak under the radar.
Nottingham Forest's 1-0 success at Sheffield Wednesday saw them again demonstrate their passing ability during a one-sided first half, before having to find entirely different, more robust qualities after the break, to hold out for a hard-fought three points.
And, as he talks enthusiastically about life under Billy Davies and the new-found confidence the manager has instilled, the striker is not shy when it comes to voicing his belief that the exertions required to see them over the finishing line at Hillsborough did not get enough credit.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"That was massive. That went under-rated by you, by the media, locally and nationally," says Cox.
"Two clean sheets in a row for a team that had not kept many at all previously this season was fantastic, particularly at that kind of ground, under the kind of pressure they put us under for 20 minutes.
"It went under-rated by lots of people, but not by the players – because we felt it had been well earned.
"Dex (Blackstock) was sliding in with a block in his own penalty area in injury time, which kind of summed the game up – because we are all happy to be doing that side of the game.
"Big Dex is powerful in the opposition box, but he is also an influence in our box, defending set pieces.
"He was picking up Anthony Gardner who is probably a foot taller than him, even.
"That can be daunting, but he did a great job and, in the last ten minutes, he was clearing things and heading things.
"There was a terrific work ethic from everyone. It has been a criticism that we have not been able to grind out a 1-0 win.
"So, particularly away from home, at a place like that, it was very pleasing for everyone."
Tonight, as Forest head into the first of two home games against sides fighting relegation, against Ipswich Town, it will be Forest who are hoping to pile the pressure on the opposition.
But, while their recent attacking power has been impressive, Cox believes it is the unselfish attitude of the squad and their team ethic that can help maintain their unbeaten start under the returning boss.
That spirit was demonstrated in the manner of the all-important goal on Saturday, which saw Cox square the ball selflessly to Radi Majewski, when he might have shot himself.
"It was a magnificent team goal. It was a great pass from Adlene into Reidy, he then held on to the ball well, was strong and produced a nice cheeky nutmeg," says Cox.
"Then he passed it on to me and I just had to drive at their defence. I was able to commit two or three players and Radi came in and did the easy part.
"My eyes lit up when I was heading towards the six-yard box, I thought that I could not do anything other than score.
"But as soon as defenders start throwing yourself in your way, you think it might not be the best thing to shoot.
"Then, when you hear Radi's little voice pop up, you think he has a better chance of scoring than I have. It is a team game, at the end of the day."
That attitude has also been reflected by Adlene Guedioura, a player with good attacking ability and a ferocious shot, who has happily – and effectively – taken on a defensive role in front of the back four.
"He has been doing it well. He gets caught sometimes when he wants to take three or four touches," says Cox. "But when he plays two or three touches, he is a great player.
"You saw the goal he got at Wolves, he is capable of that, he can hit them from 25-yards or more. He has that shot in his locker.
"But he has been asked to play in a different position for the team and he is doing really well for us.
"That is the team spirit we have here."
While he remains particularly enthused by the character shown at Hillsborough, Cox admits it does feel as though Forest are building momentum, following their wins over Huddersfield and Charlton.
"It felt as though we had beaten Charlton by more than 2-0, because of the domination we had enjoyed," adds Cox.
"It did feel like a more emphatic win and the scoreline, by the end, was quite surprising.
"No disrespect to them, but we felt like it was a bigger win.
"Huddersfield was just like the Radi show. He had got a hat-trick by half time and was terrific throughout.
"Henri has got his goals as well, so it has been a good month since the manager has come in.
"People have chipped in with goals and it is all round really pleasing."
With Wolves set to visit the City Ground on Saturday, following Ipswich tonight, Cox says that, while neither game will be easy, they must view it as a chance to extend their four-match unbeaten run.
"We set ourselves a target and these two games are an opportunity to give ourselves a great chance of being where we want to be," says Cox.
"But don't underestimate teams at the bottom of the league, because they will be fighting.
"It will be a tough game, Mick McCarthy has done a good job and it will be survival that is on the agenda for them.
"But it is another game we feel we can go and win."
And, if Forest keep another clean sheet along the way, it will not go unnoticed.