Neil Harris tried to sign Nathaniel Mendez-Laing when he was manager of Millwall – and was delighted to see the forward demonstrate exactly why as he fired Cardiff City to their first away win of the season
Mendez-Laing provided a precise, powerful finish from the edge of the box in the 14th minute to net the only goal against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground as the Bluebirds continued their remarkable record against the Reds, who have taken only a single point from their last 10 meetings.
But while their misery was maintained, Harris enjoyed his return to one of his former clubs thanks to Mendez-Laing’s second goal of the season.
He said: “I tried to sign him in the past as a manager. So when I came in, he was one of the players I was really looking forward to working with.
“I was looking forward to working with the entire group, but he was a player I wanted before and he showed why here.”
Harris was pleased to see Cardiff notch up their first away win of the season in what was his third game in charge.
He added: “For the players I am delighted, because they have come close to winning away from home previously and the longer it goes on the more it builds up in your mind, I am sure.
“We could have won at Charlton and I wanted to take that into today.
“This is always a tough place to come but to face a Forest side that had just won 4-0 at QPR… we knew that was going to be difficult.
“But our organisation and defending was outstanding. We blocked shots and put bodies on the line.
“When you have done that, you need moments of quality. Nathaniel provided that moment of class for us with his goal.
“I just asked the boys for discipline, for structure and to work for each other – at the moment we look like a proper unit.”
Sabri Lamouchi’s Forest side have been adept at making the most of limited chances this season but this was a day when they had 30 efforts on goal – but only managed to hit the target twice.
Joao Carvalho, Sammy Ameobi, Alfa Semedo, Matty Cash and Jack Robinson all came close, but it was not enough.
Lamouchi said: “The numbers, they are clear. But we can do no more than that. We can only try to hit the target. We did create big chances.
“Normally we are very efficient with the goals we score from the number of chances we create. This time it was the opposite.
“It is one more loss at home, unfortunately we missed a lot, because we created a lot. We missed two big chances in the opening stages, through Sammy Ameobi and Joao Carvalho.
“Then they scored with their one real shot in the first half. Unfortunately, it is like this. It was a big disappointment.
“The most difficult thing in football is to score. To score a goal you need to create and today we created a lot. But we did not score.
“There was good commitment from the players – they tried. In the end, I think we deserved more than the zero points we got. But it was a big disappointment.
“They shot once in the first half, scored their goal and after that it was wait, wait, wait and play on the counter-attack.”