I knew Wigan Athletic would hurt us - Forest boss

Aitor Karanka (left), with Paul Cook
Aitor Karanka (left), with Paul Cook

Aitor Karanka wasn’t surprised in the slightest by the way Wigan Athletic ripped into his Nottingham Forest promotion favourites at the DW Stadium.

Forest needed a stoppage-time equaliser from Hillal Soudani to rescue a point after being second-best for most of an enthralling game.

And Karanka admits he fully expected Paul Cook’s side to give them a thorough test of their credentials.

“No I wasn’t surprised with how well they played, because I know how good they are and how good a manager they have,” conceded the Forest boss.

“I told my players before the game how difficult this test would be.

“It reminded me of the game we played against Millwall last season, who were newly-promoted with momentum, and we conceded an early goal that day as well.

“No, it was absolutely not a shock to me how well Wigan played, because I know they are a good side.”

Latics twice took the lead at the DW, through Nick Powell and a Will Grigg penalty in the first half.

Despite Forest levelling through Matty Cash on 10 minutes, it looked as though Latics would hang on for all three points until the visitors were awarded a penalty right on the 90-minute mark.

Despite a fine penalty save from Christian Walton to deny Lewis Grabban, Soudani followed up to restore parity - and hand Karanka a point to go home with.

“I think we deserved our point at the end,” he added.

“We created quite a few chances, although you are always a little fortunate when you equalise in added-time.

“Of course we had to hang in there when we were losing 2-1, but I told my players we had time to get back into it.

“We could easily have gone into the break 3-1 or 4-1 down, because we didn’t play very well in the first half.

“I told my players before the game we had to be careful with this game, and they had to be on it 150 per cent.

“We weren’t at that level, and it’s hard to understand how the players can play so well against West Brom last week and then so poorly today.

“The positive thing is we are still unbeaten, we are creating a lot of opportunities, and we’ve managed to keep the momentum in the camp.

“My players have proved once again they will fight until the end to get the goal, and they deserve credit for that.”