MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray refuses to believe the club can overturn a six-point gap and sneak into the Championship play-offs – but he was happy to hear the Riverside united in celebrating a rare win.
“I thought we worked extremely hard and if anything we could have scored more late on when they were really over-gambling to score,” he said.
“In the world of football if you get beat, you must be rubbish but if you win, you’re okay.
“But our performances as a team have not been as bad as the run we’ve been on.
“Ultimately we’ll finish where we probably deserve to and hopefully that’s in the top 10 and pushing on to get some confidence out of the last few games.”
Forest boss Billy Davies said his side has “no margin for error” if they intend to secure a play-off place but he is delighted just to be within touching distance of the top six.
Despite watching Mustapha Carayol decide a 1-0 victory for Boro, other results went the right way for the Forest boss, whose side are now one point shy of sixth-placed Leicester with three games remaining.
Two of those games – against Barnsley and, more crucially, against local rivals Leicester – take place at the City Ground where Davies has guided Forest from a mid-table struggle to the promotion picture.
And the Scot admitted he would have jumped at the challenge of simply dragging Forest over the line in the run-in when he returned in February.
He said: “We’re one point behind and this is going to go right to the last game. We’ve given ourselves no margin of error.
“When I came in if you said to me that with three games to go I’d be three points outside the play-offs, with two home games coming up, then I would have said ‘please give me that opportunity’.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have that but I’m disappointed with the results as we’ve shot ourselves in the foot in the last number of matches by losing that first goal or making individual mistakes. But I’ve got to say, nothing changes, and we’re in a very good position where it’s still in our own hands.”
Carayol stole onto Josh McEachran’s cute through-ball three minutes before the break to slot home, with Davies left to regret missed chances from Simon Cox and Billy Sharp in the opening exchanges.
A frustrated home fan-base had watched Boro take just eight points from the first 51 available in 2013, but the mood soon changed after Carayol’s opener and the Teessiders went on to dominate the second half.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Bikey, Rhys Williams, Halliday, Dyer (Reach 90), Smallwood, McEachran (Bailey 63), Carayol, Ameobi (Haroun 70), McDonald. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, McManus, Emnes, Main. Booked: Rhys Williams, Smallwood. Goals: Carayol 42.
Nottm Forest: Darlow, Cohen, Ward, Halford, Hutchinson (Jara Reyes 70), Guedioura (Majewski 58), Lansbury, McGugan, Reid (Blackstock 78), Cox, Sharp. Subs Not Used: Evtimov, Collins, Moussi, Tudgay. Booked: Blackstock.
Att: 13,861 Ref: Mark Heywood (Cheshire).